glaucoma and asthma

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I have glaucoma and asthma.  The steroid inhaler for asthma increases my IOP as noted by my ophthalmologist. My GP dismissed this as there was no contraindication which seems to be true but it was stated as a possible side-effect in the information leaflet of the steroid inhaler.  By not using the steroid inhaler I get more breathless and increase the inflammation in my lungs but if I do I risk further damage to my optic nerves and mor vision loss.  I have asked for advice from various glaucoma and asthma organisations but nobody has been able to help.  I wonder if anybody has any suggestions? I'd be very grateful.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    It is well documented that steroids increase IOP in glaucoma patients. But the GP just may not be aware as they are generalists and not specialists. I am aware that a number of glaucoma specialists do have an interest in the impact of steroids. What type of glaucoma specialist are you seeing? Perhaps you may like to google and find one to have a review of your case.
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    • Posted

      Many thanks for your helpful reply.  I am seeing Mr Almar Alwrity, a consultant ophthalmologist, and I have every confidence in him.  He advised me not to use the steroid inhaler and I agree with him.
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  • Posted

    I think that’s wise. Maybe ask GP to refer you to a specialist for asthma and on urgent referral.
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    • Posted

      You are quite right.  I have to make an appointment to see my GP and ask for a referral to an asthma specialist.  I have been reluctant to do this as I know my GP will not be too happy about this.  But I have now made up my mind to follow through.  Thank you again for your helpful advice.
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  • Posted

    I also have glaucoma and asthma. The Moorfields clinic I attend knew this from the start and told me there would be limited drops I would be able to use. They did ask me if I would consider stopping the inhaler, when I said no, they understood and I’ve always been prescribed drops that minimise any contrareaction. I except this means I do not have available to me the most effective drops, but both aspects of my health are being taken care of.
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    • Posted

      Many thanks for replying to my enquiry.  Unfortunately, my glaucoma is quite difficult to treat I have been told and I have been on 3 kinds of different eyedrops (Brimonidine, Latanoprost and combination drops Dorzolamide/Timolol for years); at the last ophthalmology check-up the consultant took me off Timolol (a beta-blocker) which could cause breathing problems.  However, this has not eased my asthma symptoms and at the moment I have to use the steroid inhalers.  I have been advised by another member of this group to ask for a referral to an asthma specialist and I shall do this.  Many thanks again.
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  • Posted

    I have early Glaucoma and early AMD since Oct, 2015. My eye sight still remains quite reasonable. About a year back, due to minor nasal congestion in winters, I suspected that possibly I am getting Asthma due to use of Travatan and Azopt eye drops. Hence, I consulted the chest specialist who did carry out test with peak flow meter which was OK. Despite that he suggested use of 3 Sprays Nasal/mouth with steroid element. After coming home, I read the brochures which said these may increase IOP. Hence I did not use them and informed  the Chest Specialist that I may consider their use once I am sure of my Asthma. Any way, I would avoid using these giving preference to the eyes. It is a difficult decision though any one may give preference to the eyes.
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    • Posted

      Many thanks for your reply.  I understand your dilemma only too well.  I too prefer not to go blind.  However, I am lucky in a way that I can go for weeks without having to use the steroid inhaler even when I am getting somewhat breathless.  But when I start to cough and cannot talk or breathe easily I have no choice because it only gets worse without the steroid inhaler.  Many years ago I had one asthma attack and it was awful.  Also, asthma attacks can be fatal.  I have been advised by another member of this group to seek the advice of an asthma/lung specialist and ask my GP to be referred and I shall do this.  At the last glaucoma check-up my consultant took me off Timolol (a betablocker) because this drug can cause breathing problems.  It might be useful for you to mention your suspected asthma at the next glaucoma check-up.  You might also want to ask your chest specialist whether there are no other drugs/inhalers that deal with the inflammation of the lungs.  I am also using a reliever inhaler when I cannot get my breath and these reliever inhalers do not increase IOP.  Many thanks again for your kink reply and advice.
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  • Posted

    Thanks for your views/ response. I am not going to the Chest Specialist after my first two visits a year back as they some time create more problems due to over medication. Anyway, I am not worried so far about my Asthma as I am still not clear if at all I have asthma. Let us hope for the best.
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    • Posted

      Hi.  Thanks for your reply.  Of course, you are quite right to make decisions that are right for you.  It's like being on a journey and finding out what works best for the individual person.  I wish you all the best.

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  • Posted

    I have glaucoma and Asthma.  I use the Ventolin  inhaler with a spacer.  Ventolin is not a steroid.  I can use it every 4 hours if needed.  Take two puffs each use.  Eye doctor and lung doctor talk to each other since I had a discussion with both of them.
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