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Dry Eyes and Restasis

What is Restasis?

Restasis is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drop used for treatment of chronic dry eye which cannot be controlled by lubrication drops or other dry eye therapies. Restasis works on the principal that dry eye is caused by inflamed tear producing glands on the inner eyelid. While inflamed, these glands cannot create enough tears and this results in dry eye symptoms. The anti-inflammatory effects of restasis reduces this inflammation and allows for increased tear production.

What Signs and Symptoms Can Restasis be Helpful with?

Restasis is helpful with chronic dry eye symptoms such as:

  1. Eyes Burning
  2. Eyes Itching
  3. Red Eyes
  4. Blurred Vision
  5. Contact lens dryness and discomfort
  6. Foreign body sensation
  7. Gritty Eyes
  8. Sandy feeling eyes
  9. Morning eye pain

How is the Need for Restasis Diagnosed?

Your eye doctor will need to perform a dry eye examination. He will ask several questions about your dry eye history such as when it started, how many lubrication drops are you taking per day and how your dry eye is affecting your life. Your doctor will instill “staining” drops to stain dry tissues which can then be viewed with a “slit lamp” (lighted microscope).

What Does Restasis Treatment Involve?

Patients taking Restasis eye drops will need to instill one drop in both eyes every morning and night. Restasis is not a cure for dry eyes. If Restasis has relieved your dry eye symptoms, you will need to continue using it to sustain your level of comfort. Restasis takes about four months to improve symptoms and a full year to reach maximum effectiveness. In addition to the Restasis, your doctor can prescribe a steroid drop to “kick start” the dry eye therapy. The steroid drop is more potent than Restasis but can only be used for 30 days.

Are There Side Effects of Restasis?

Mild burning upon instilling the drops is the most common side effect of Restasis but usually subsides after the inflammation lessens and the dry eyes heal. Patients with a history of herpes (cold sore virus) in the eye will rarely develop a recurrence of the virus. You doctor will counsel you on these side effects.

How Much Does Restasis Cost?

Most insurances cover Restasis but if not covered, Restasis can cost up to $350 per month. Restasis comes in “single use” tubes which are to be thrown away after each use but as many as seven drops are in each tube so by carefully storing the tube and not contaminating the tip, a month’s supply can last up to three months. Please check with your insurance company for coverage.

What Steps Should I Take If I Think I Need Restasis?

Schedule a dry eye consultation with Dr. Reinders as soon as possible to get the dry eye treatment started. Dr. Reinders has 22 years of experience in treating dry eyes and has prescribed Restasis for over 500 patients. He can help you determine if Restasis is a good option to assist with you dry eye issues.