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December 1964

Digitalis and Glaucoma

Arch Ophthalmol. 1964;72(6):742. doi:10.1001/archopht.1964.00970020742002

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As a systemic medication for controlling the tension of open-angle glaucoma, acetazolamide and other carbonic anhydrase inhibitors have held nearly sovereign monopoly during the past decade. Two years ago the digitalis glycosides, including digoxin and ouabain, were hailed as potential substitutes or additives also having considerable promise. These drugs were known to inhibit sodium transport in various systems, and in the eye they were shown to reduce the rate of inflow of aqueous humor. In some animals and man they were found to lower the intraocular pressure. Studies on the mechanism of formation of aqueous humor and on the action of cardiac glycosides have served to demonstrate that the secretion of aqueous humor depends in part upon the Na-K activated ATPase system in the ciliary body and that this is subject to inhibition by the digitalis glycosides.

It now appears that the influence of digitalis glycosides on formation of aqueous

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