Free radicals and the pH of topical glaucoma medications: a lifetime of ocular chemical injury?

D. Lockington, EC Macdonald, P. Stewart, David Young, Muriel Caslake, Kanna Ramaesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Preservatives in ophthalmic preparations are known to cause ocular surface damage. Excipients can also contribute to oxidative stress in the compromised ocular surface. We evaluated commonly used topical glaucoma medications to ascertain pH levels and the intrinsic presence of free radicals. Samples of 27 topical glaucoma preparations were analysed for total free radical presence using a Randox Kit for total antioxidant status. Analytical grade indicator paper was used to ascertain pH levels. Free radical concentrations for these 27 glaucoma preparations ranged from 0 to 4.54 mmol/l, with a median value of 0.66 mmol/l (mean value of 0.662 mmol/l, SD 0.839). Levels of pH ranged from 4.0 to 7.4, with a median value of 6.5 (mean 6.252, SD 0.826). There was no evidence of a direct correlation between these two variables (r=0.232, P=0.275). This study is the first to document the range of pH and concentrations of free radicals intrinsically present in commonly used glaucoma medications. Long-term exposure to preservatives, free radicals, and pH levels could all contribute to ocular surface damage. The effect of excipients could be responsible for patient intolerance when changing products in the compromised ocular surface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-741
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Early online date2 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • free radicals
  • topical glaucoma
  • medical statistics


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