How to Use Restasis: What It Treats and the Side Effects

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Do you experience chronic dry eye? If so, you’re not alone; 23 million Americans have diagnosed dry eye. The good news for anyone suffering from chronic dry eye is that there is medicine for it: Restasis.

Known generically as cyclosporine ophthalmic, this medicine is an immunosuppressant that works by reducing eye inflammation to allow production of more tears.

In this guide, we’ll go over common side effects and how to use Restasis. We’ll also cover things you should discuss with your doctor before or while taking this medicine.

How To Use Restasis: Side Effects

Thankfully for dry-eye sufferers, the side effects of Restasis aren’t typically that severe. Common side effects can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Redness of the eye
  • Excess tear production
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Eye burning, stinging, or other pain
  • Feeling like something is stuck in the eye

If any of these side effects make you uncomfortable, you should talk to your doctor. There may be measures you can take to alleviate some of these symptoms. For example, redness or burning can often be treated by using artificial tears.

Restasis: How To Use It

Now that you’re aware of the potential side effects of Restasis, we’ll move on to discussing how to use this medication.

Before you administer the medication, you should wash your hands. Be sure to wash your hands anytime you’re about to touch your eye. Contaminants on the hands can cause an infection.

Restasis needs to be mixed before use. You want the drops to be uniform–they should look like a white mixture. You don’t want to shake them though; gently turn them upside down until they mix together.

Restasis Directions: Application of Medicine

Knowing how to properly use Restasis drops is crucial to the effectiveness of the drug and the safety of your eye. Improper use can lead to infection in the eye.

Carefully open the dropper bottle without touching the dropper tip to the cap. Gently pull down your lower eyelid and lean your head back.

Hold the dropper above your eye. Look up, but not at the dropper. Squeeze the bottle so one drop falls in your eye and close your eye.

Repeat this administration in your other eye as directed by your doctor or prescription. After taking Restasis, your vision might not be clear enough to drive or operate machinery for a few minutes.

Is your Restasis bottle a single-use application? Make sure you throw it away after your dose. Don’t save it for later, even if there are drops remaining. If your bottle is multi-use, store it at room temperature and keep it capped properly.

Restasis Dosing Instructions

You should use Restasis twice a day, or as directed by your doctor. The best way to do this is to space each dose out by twelve hours.

What should you do if you miss a dose? The best course of action is to apply the medicine as soon as you remember unless it’s almost time for your next dose. Do not take a double dose.

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It’s hard to overdose on Restasis, but if you do, you should first wash your eye with water. Then, call your doctor or, if your doctor is unavailable, call the ER or Poison Control. Should someone eat the eye drops, call the ER for advice.

Talk To Your Doctor About…

Before taking Restasis, you should talk with your doctor if you have an eye infection. You should also let your doctor know about any medications you’re taking. Even over-the-counter or herbal meds should be discussed before going on Restasis.

If you’re pregnant or could become pregnant while on Restasis, talk to your doctor about this before starting the medication. Restasis is classified as a pregnancy category C drug by the FDA. This means Restasis could be harmful to an unborn baby–it might not be, but it’s not known.

It’s also not known whether or not this medication can pass to a baby through breast milk. If you plan to breastfeed or you are breastfeeding, you should talk to your doctor before starting Restasis.

What Else Should You Know About Restasis?

Restasis doesn’t cause dependency, which makes it a great solution for anyone experiencing chronic dry eye for a short or long period of time. One of the most common causes of temporary yet chronic dry eye is LASIK. Following that procedure, up to 95% of patients experience dry eye.

If you’re allergic to cyclosporine, you should not use Restasis. This drug is only for patients older than 16 years. Don’t let children have access to Restasis.

If you notice that your Restasis drops are a different color, or if there are particles floating in the drops, don’t use those drops.

Do you wear contact lenses? You can still wear your contacts while you’re on Restasis. However, don’t reinsert them right after administering your eye drops. You should wait at least 15 minutes unless your doctor gives you different directions.

You can even still use artificial tears while you’re on Restasis. As with contact lenses though, you should wait 15 minutes between applying Restasis and artificial tears.

We mentioned earlier the importance of not touching the cap to the dropper tip when preparing to administer Restasis. You should also make sure the dropper doesn’t touch your hands or eyes. The dropper tip needs to remain sterile.

Should the dropper tip not be sterile, you place yourself at risk for infection in your eyes.


Chronic dry eye can be caused by a number of issues, and it can lead to eye pain and fatigue. If you’re experiencing chronic dry eye, you should talk to your eye doctor about it to get started on Restasis. You may need to take it every day for awhile, or for a shorter period of time.

As long as you follow the simple instructions provided above, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of Restasis while not risking infection in your eyes. If you still have questions about how to use Restasis, you should talk with your doctor or leave a comment below.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

how to use restasis

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