Restasis Drops For Dry Eyes

Dr. Kisling Dry Eye Syndrome, Dry Eyes 2 Comments


Your eye doctor may prescribe Restasis eye drops for dry eye syndrome. Restasis is a drug call cyclosporin that has been used since 1980 to help prevent patients with organ transplants from rejecting the new tissues. In 2002 a topical eye drop formulation of cyclosporin was approved named Restasis. Restasis has virtually no absorption into the circulation from eye drops and is therefore has a low risk of the side effects. Cyclosporin eye drops have been used by veterinary medicine doctors for years in treating dry eyes disorders of dogs. 


Restasis is normally prescribed with twice a day dosing, and can take up to six months to reach it’s full effect. A new study1 indicates that a change in dosing may make life easier in the future. Patients who had been taking Restasis successfully for a year actually did better with once daily dosing.  Another small study in 20092 showed patients who had not had any benefit from Restasis could be successful when using the drops 3-4 times per day.



Restasis has been used in an off label manner to treat a seasonal allergic eye disease in children called Vernal Kertoconjunctivitis (VKC). In Europe cyclosporin is made in a much stronger dose (2% versus .05%) to treat VKC. While this is not an approved drug in the U.S., the future may find it to be a much safer and effective therapy. This strength is frequently used in treating dry eyes in dogs.  



Even after ten years we are still learning about Restasis. While it is currently approved only for twice a day dosing, your eye doctor may be using it in a different manner in the future, more custom tailored to your individual eye needs.  Discuss any changes in your treatment with your optometrist first, there may be a more comfortable eye in your future.
1 Su MY, Perry HD, Barsam A, et al.  Cornea 2011 Oct; 30(10) :1098-104.

2 Dastjerdi MH, Hamrah P, Dana R  Cornea. 2009 Sep 15.


Comments 2

  1. Joy Osborne

    I have a 12 yr old Llasa who has trouble with dry eyes. We have to out drops and antibiotic cream. Will it be safe to give him Restasis?

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