No one enjoys living with dry eyes. In addition to being uncomfortable, if the condition becomes severe enough, it can drastically affect our daily lives. Most symptoms of dry eyes present obviously, but regular eye exams are instrumental in catching the condition before it causes any noticeable issues.
As we age, our chances of suffering from dry eyes increase. Plus, if you have allergies or spend a lot of time outside, your chances are higher than normal. Luckily, there are several home remedies, medical treatments, and medications used to treat dry eyes.
Living with Dry Eyes
If you’re like the other nearly 16 million Americans, you’ll experience the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes at some point in your life.
One of the leading causes of dry eyes is the lack of tear production. Several things can cause your eyes not to produce an adequate amount of tears. Age is one natural factor, but medications and certain medical procedures can also result in dry eyes.
Over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops are often enough to treat minor dry eye symptoms. Still, if the condition worsens or persists, your optometrist will likely recommend additional treatments or therapies.
Treating Dry Eyes with Restasis
One medication commonly used to treat chronic dry eye is Restasis. The active drug in this treatment is cyclosporine. This immunosuppressant drug targets inflammation in the tear glands to help restore them to their normal function.
Because of how it works, the primary use for Restasis is when the cause of your dry eyes is related to inflammation in your tear glands. Suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome is one example.
It’s important to note that Restasis does not actually create any lubrication in your eyes, and it can take up to 6 months to experience the full benefits. So, your optometrist may prescribe an “artificial tear” or lubricating eye drops to help with symptoms in the meantime.
Prescribing Restasis for Children
Unfortunately, there has not been enough testing for Restasis to determine its safety and effectiveness in children. As of right now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the drug for the prescription to kids that are 16 and older.
Many medications have a generic version that is usually a little bit cheaper. Unfortunately, Restasis eye drops are not available in a generic form. If Restasis isn’t an option due to financial constraints, your optometrist may be able to suggest an effective alternative.
Side Effects of Restasis
Like any medication, mild and severe side effects of Restasis use are possible. There are different factors regarding your chances of experiencing the side effects. During a comprehensive exam, your optometrist will ask many questions that can help them determine whether you’re at risk for any major complications.
Your optometrist can provide you with information regarding side effects or reactions specific to your situation. But here are a few of the more common, mild, and temporary side effects that may occur:
- Itching or mild swelling of the eye
- Mild discomfort
- Excessively watery eyes
- Blurry vision
Alternative Treatments for Dry Eyes
If, for some reason, Restasis isn’t the solution for your dry eyes, there are several alternative treatments available.
Keep in mind with any home remedy that they don’t replace the advice of your optometrist. If symptoms do not go away, visit your eye doctor to ensure there are no unaddressed underlying issues.
Natural Home Remedies
- Cleaning your eyelids: Sometimes, cleaning your eyelids by soaking a warm cloth on them and rubbing them with a mild soap like baby soap is enough to correct mild dry eye symptoms.
- OTC Treatments: There are several specially formulated OTC eye drops and ointments to help with dry eyes. Eye doctors don’t recommend long-term use unless you use a preservative-free eye drop.
Restasis and Xiidra are two commonly used medications to treat dry eyes. Ultimately, the medical treatment that your optometrist recommends depends on the root cause of your dry eyes.
Finding out if Restasis is Right for You
If you’re struggling with dry eyes and home remedies aren’t cutting it, contact us today and book an appointment. After an eye exam, the optometrist will be able to provide more information for you on whether or not Restasis will be an appropriate and effective treatment.