Beta-blocker eyedrops and nocturnal arterial hypotension.Am J Ophthalmol 1999; 128(3):301-9AJ
To investigate the effects of topical beta-blocker eyedrops on nocturnal arterial hypotension and heart rate and on visual field deterioration.
We prospectively investigated 275 white patients, 161 with glaucomatous optic neuropathy and 114 with nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, by 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and diurnal curve of intraocular pressure, in addition to detailed ophthalmic evaluation. Of the patients with glaucomatous optic neuropathy, 131 had normal-tension glaucoma and 30 had primary open-angle glaucoma. Of the 275 patients, 114 were using topical beta-blocker eyedrops twice daily (76 with normal-tension glaucoma, 26 with primary open-angle glaucoma, and 12 with anterior ischemic optic neuropathy).
Hourly average blood pressure data analyses showed overall a drop in blood pressure as well as heart rate during sleep, and a significantly greater drop in mean diastolic blood pressure (P = .009) at night in normal-tension glaucoma than in anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. Also, patients using beta-blocker eyedrops experienced a significantly greater percentage drop in diastolic blood pressure at night (P = .028), lower minimum nighttime diastolic blood pressure (P = .072), and lower minimum nighttime heart rate (P = .002) than did those not using them. In normal-tension glaucoma, eyes receiving beta-blocker eyedrops showed visual field progression significantly (P = .0003) more often than those not receiving beta-blockers.
The findings of our studies, as well as those of others, suggest that any factor that increases nocturnal arterial hypotension is a potential risk factor in vulnerable individuals with glaucomatous optic neuropathy or anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. The present study suggests that the use of beta-blocker eyedrops, by aggravating nocturnal arterial hypotension and reducing the heart rate, may be a potential risk factor in susceptible individuals.