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Episcleral Venous Pressure and the Ocular Hypotensive Effects of Topical and Intracameral Prostaglandin Analogs


There is a limit beyond which increasing either the concentration of a prostaglandin analog (PGA) or its dosing frequency fails to produce increases in ocular hypotensive efficacy with topical dosing. Intracameral PGA dosing with a bimatoprost implant, however, does not exhibit the same intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering plateau at studied concentrations, and the maximum-achievable ocular hypotensive effects are not yet known. This suggests that the bimatoprost intracameral implant may activate another mechanism of action in addition to the mechanism(s) activated by topical application. Episcleral venous pressure (EVP) is a key determinant of IOP, and experimental manipulation of the episcleral vasculature can change both EVP and IOP. The recent observation that topical and intracameral PGA drug delivery routes produce different patterns of conjunctival hyperemia suggested that the differences in the IOP-lowering profiles may be caused by differing effects on the episcleral vasculature. Recent experiments in animals have shown that topical PGAs increase EVP, while the bimatoprost intracameral implant causes a smaller, transient increase in EVP, followed by a sustained decrease. The increase in EVP could be limiting the IOP-lowering efficacy of topical PGAs. In contrast, the decrease in EVP associated with the bimatoprost implant could explain its enhanced IOP-lowering effects. Further research on EVP as a target for IOP lowering is indicated to improve our understanding of this potentially important pathway for treating patients with glaucoma.

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