Timolol eye drops are used to control increased pressure within your eye (glaucoma).
Remember to use the drops regularly - try not to miss any doses.If you normally wear soft contact lenses, please make sure your doctor knows about this.
About timolol eye drops
|Type of medicine||A beta-blocker eye preparation|
|Used for||Chronic open-angle glaucoma (also called primary open-angle glaucoma)|
|Also called||Timoptol®; Timoptol® LA; Tiopex®|
Timolol is also in the following combination brands: Azarga® (timolol with brinzolamide), Combigan® (timolol with brimonidine), Cosopt® (timolol with dorzolamide), DuoTrav® (timolol with travoprost), Ganfort® (timolol with bimatoprost), Taptiqom® (timolol with tafluprost), Xalacom® (timolol with latanoprost)
|Available as||Eye drops and eye gel (Timoptol® LA), and single-dose units (drops and Tiopex® gel)|
In chronic open-angle glaucoma there is damage to the optic nerve at the back of your eye. It is usually caused by an increase in pressure within your eye. Timolol eye drops work by lowering the pressure in your eye. It is thought they do this by reducing the amount of fluid that you make that fills the front part of your eye (called aqueous humour). By reducing the amount of fluid produced, it reduces the pressure within your eye.
Timolol can be used alone or in combination with other treatments for glaucoma, such as bimatoprost, latanoprost, travoprost, tafluprost, brinzolamide, dorzolamide, or brimonidine. Please refer to the individual leaflets which are available for each of these treatments for more information.
Before using timolol eye drops
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using the drops it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have asthma or any other breathing problems.
- If you have a heart condition.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have Raynaud's syndrome or low blood pressure.
- If you are being treated for thyroid problems or diabetes.
- If you wear soft contact lenses.
- If you know you have a problem with the surface of your eye (the cornea), or if you have particularly dry eyes.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have any allergies. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have had a bad reaction to any eye drops.
How to use timolol eye drops
- Wash your hands well before you use the drops. Shake the container.
- Remove the cap (or flip off the tip of the unit if you are using a single-dose unit).
- Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye out to form a pocket.
- Hold the bottle or single-dose unit upside down near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
- Press lightly to release one drop into your eye. Only use a second drop if the first drop missed going into your eye.
- Close your eye for a minute or two, and press gently on the side of your nose where the corner of your eye meets your nose. This helps to stop the drop from draining away and keeps it in your eye.
- Repeat the process in your other eye if you have been told to use the drops in both eyes. The contents of one single-dose unit are enough for both eyes.
- Replace the cap (or if you are using a single-dose unit, throw it away).
Getting the most from your treatment
- Before you start using the eye drops, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack. It will give you more information about the eye drops and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from using them.
- Use one drop into the eye (or eyes) affected. Some timolol eye drops should be put in twice a day; others should be used once a day only. Your doctor will tell you which is right for you and this will also be printed on the label of the pack to remind you about what the doctor said. Remember to use the drops at regular intervals and try not to miss any doses.
- If you do forget to use the drops, put them in as soon as you remember, but do not 'double up' to make up for any missed doses.
- Take care not to touch the tip of the dropper with your eye, fingers, or any other surface. This is to prevent the drops from becoming contaminated.
- If you are using any other eye drops, leave 5-10 minutes between applying each one. This is to prevent more liquid going into your eye than it can handle. Otherwise the drops will overflow from your eye and not have the intended effect.
- When first put in, eye drops can make your eyes water and may sometimes cause blurred vision. If this happens, it should quickly clear. Make sure you can see clearly again before you drive, or before you use tools or machines.
- Do not wear soft contact lenses if you are using eye drops from a bottle unless your doctor has advised that you can do so. This is because there is a preservative in bottles of eye drops which can affect some soft contact lenses. You may wear soft contact lenses while you are using single-dose drops as there is no preservative in these (but remember to take out your lenses to apply the drops and wait for at least 15 minutes before putting lenses back in).
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor and eye clinic, so that your progress can be checked.
- If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, remember to tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are using timolol eye drops. This is because the drops could interfere with some medicines used during surgery.
Can timolol eye drops cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, eye drops can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones associated with timolol. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your drops. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common timolol eye drop side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Eye irritation, stinging or inflammation, eye redness, dry eyes||If these symptoms continue or become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you experience the following, contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- Any difficulties breathing, such as wheezing or shortness of breath.
- An allergic-type reaction, such as any swelling around your face.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the eye drops, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store timolol eye drops
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Always check the expiry information on the container. Eye drops in bottles only keep for four weeks once the bottle has been opened, so do not use the drops if the bottle has been open for longer than this. This will help to prevent the risk of eye infections.
- Single-dose units should be used immediately the unit is opened. Do not store or re-use opened units for later doses. This is because single-dose units do not contain any preservative.
Important information about all medicines
If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you suspect that someone has swallowed the drops by accident, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Timoptol® 0.25% and 0.5% w/v Eye Drops Solution; Santen UK Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2015.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Timoptol®-LA 0.25 and 0.5% w/v Gel-Forming Eye Drops Solution; Santen UK Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2015.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Tiopex® timolol 1 mg/g, eye gel in single-dose container; Thea Pharmaceuticals Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2014.
- British National Formulary; 71st Edition (March-September 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins