For many dry eye patients, Restasis is the difference between a “good” dry eye day and a “shut the blinds, leave me alone” dry eye day. Unfortunately, it does not seem to help all dry eye patients equally.
Restasis belongs to a class of medicines known as immunosuppressants. It increases tear production in people who have an eye condition preventing them from producing tears themselves. Thus, it is continually used to treat not only Dry Eye Disease but also Sjogren’s Syndrome, Lupus, Blindness & Visual Impairment and even Panic Attacks.
How to use Restasis?
This medication is applied to the affected eye twice a day, with 12 hours in between, or as director by your doctor. Remove any contact lenses and do not replace them until 15 minutes following the use of Restasis. Same thing applies to artificial tear drops, wait 15 minutes to reapply.
Mix the contents of the vial by turning it upside down a couple of times before use. Make sure you wash your hands first and avoid touching the tip of the vial or let it touch your eye to avoid contamination. Open the vial and tilt your head back, look upwards while you pull down on your lower eyelid with both index and thumb fingers to create a ‘pouch’. Place the tip of the vial directly over the affected eye and apply one drop, look downward and close your eye for 2 minutes. Don’t blink or rub your eye.
Some patients may experience some light burning and discomfort when first applying Restasis. Try waiting 15 minutes after applying the medication and then rinse out your eyes with chilled saline solution vials. This will refresh your eyes and remove any irritating Restasis residue. Consult with your doctor if symptoms continue.
Who should use Restasis?
Restasis helps increase your eyes’ natural tear production, which can be reduced by inflammation due to Chronic Dry Eye. It has not provided help for patients using anti-inflammatory eye drops or tear duct plugs.
The effects of Restasis therapy can be felt within a month of therapy, but it takes 3 to 6 months to see an increase in tear production. Many patients continue using artificial tears after starting Restasis but the use may decrease as they start producing more tears of their own. As with any other medical treatment, individual results may vary.
Who shouldn’t use Restasis?
As previously mentioned, Restasis did not increase tear production in patients already using anti-inflammatory eye drops or who had tear duct plugs inserted. In addition, certain patients can experience symptoms similar to an allergic reaction to Restasis: prolonged discomfort, severe redness, yellow discharge from the eye. Patients with active eye infections should avoid it too.
Some patients have experienced severe burning/stinging when first applied. These symptoms seem to go away for the majority of patients; however, if symptoms persist and redness and discharge occur, please consult with your doctor as Restasis may not be right for you.
Do you have any Restasis stories to tell? We’d love to hear about them!