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August 1962

Possible Usefulness of Cardiac Glycosides in Treatment of Glaucoma

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.
From the Ophthalmology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1962;68(2):227-234. doi:10.1001/archopht.1962.00960030231014

The various types of noncongestive glaucoma have, for the most part, yielded to modern therapeutic maneuvers designed to inhibit aqueous humor formation or increase facility of outflow. Congenital glaucoma has distinguished itself among the glaucomas by its poor response to various medical means of lowering intraocular pressure, but analysis of surgical results indicates about 77% success.1

Until recently, only the carbonic anhydrase inhibitors have been shown to decrease aqueous humor formation. However, evidence has been presented for the existence of the enzyme sodium-potassium activated adenosine triphosphatase (Na-K ATPase) in the ciliary body of cat and man,2 and for its role in the formation of aqueous humor in these species.3 Inasmuch as the cardiac glycosides are specific inhibitors of this enzyme and, thereby, of aqueous humor formation, a possible therapeutic role of the digitalis compounds suggested itself. Therefore, a systematic study of the use of digoxin in both

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