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November 1994

Adverse Effects of Topical Antiglaucoma Medication: I. The Conjunctival Cell Profile

Author Affiliations

From Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England (Drs Broadway and Hitchings); Department of Clinical Science, Institute of Ophthalmology, London (Drs Broadway and Grierson); Department of Experimental Ophthalmology, University of Liverpool (England) (Dr Grierson); and St Pauls Eye Hospital, Liverpool (Dr O'Brien).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(11):1437-1445. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090230051020

Objective:  To determine the effect of various long-term topical antiglaucoma regimens on the cell population profile of the conjunctiva.

Methods:  Conjunctival biopsy specimens from 124 patients undergoing filtration surgery were assessed quantitatively by light microscopy. Preoperatively, the patients had used a drug for only a brief period (group A; n=28), a β-blocker alone (group B; n=31), a β-blocker in combination with a miotic (group C; n=33), or a combination of β-blocker, miotic, andsympathomimetic (group D; n=32).

Results:  The conjunctiva in groups A and B was similar. Group C conjunctiva differed, but the changes were most marked in biopsy specimens from patients in group D, where there was a significant decrease in goblet cells (P<.05); increase in pale cells, macrophages, and lymphocytes within the epithelium (P<.001); and increase in fibroblasts (P<.001), macrophages (P<.001), mast cells (P<.05), and lymphocytes (P=.01) in the substantia propria. In addition, the effect of duration of therapy was assessed. Administration of topical medication for more than 3 years was found to increase the numbers of pale cells within the epithelium (P<.05); fibroblasts (P<.05), macrophages (P<.001), lymphocytes (P<.01), and mast cells (P=.001) within the superficial substantia propria; and the numbers of fibroblasts (P=.01) and macrophages (P<.05) within the deep substantia propria.

Conclusions:  The compared treatment regimens affected the conjunctiva to different degrees, with multipledrug topical therapy exerting the greatest effect on the degree of subclinical inflammation within the conjunctiva. The results also indicated that administration of topical medication, irrespective of type, for 3 years or more induced a significant degree of subclinical inflammation.