Dry Eye Treatments

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye syndrome) or just dry eyes is a disease of the eye that is brought about by reduced production of tears or the increased evaporation of tear film in a person. Characteristic symptoms of this disease include burning sensation of the eyes, dryness and a sand-gritty irritation that progresses during the day. Other symptoms consist of pain, pressure at the back of the eye, redness, itchiness, and a tugging sensation. There are approved dry eyes treatments and one of them is Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic solution 0.05%) from Allergan Inc.

What is Restasis and how does it work? Restasis ophthalmic emulsion is a diluted cyclosporine eye drop that is indicated for the increase production of tears in clients with tear production thought to be suppressed as a result of inflammation of the eyes related to keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This could be interrupting the liquid supply to the eye due to the compression of the narrow channels. It boosts the natural ability of the eyes to form tears that may be decreased due to inflammation resulting from chronic dry eyes.

Studies have shown that this drug is not effective in increasing the tear production in patients who have been using plugs for tear ducts and anti-inflammatory eye drops. Allergan Inc. stated that it would provide early relief but based on studies, the full effect can be felt after 90 days of continued use. What are the side-effects of Restasis? Patients using Restasis could experience slight prickling or burning; blurring of images; feeling of having something in the eye. If these symptoms persist, then consult a physician.

Obtain medical attention at once if some of these acute side effects happen while using the medication: severe allergic reactions like difficulty in breathing; tightness around chest; swelling of the face, tongue, mouth or lips; alteration in vision; aggravated itching or burning; continued blurring of images; eye discharges; too much tear production; and eye pain.

How is Restasis applied and used? This medication is applied two times a day directly on the eye around every 12 hours, except if the doctor has other instructions. The bottle is good for only one dose and any residual medication should be discarded at once. If using artificial tears, there should be a 15-minute interval prior to the administration of Restasis. Make sure not to handle the surface of the dropper since this is considered sterile. Handling it would render it unsterile and could worsen the infection of the eye.

If contact lenses are used, be sure to remove them first before application of the medicine. They can be reinserted 15 minutes after the administration of medication. Are there any other dry eyes treatments besides Restasis? Cyclosporine is a cyclic polypeptide acquired from a fungus that contains 11 amino acids that would prevent the production of interleukin and cytokines and the T- lymphocyte cells from proliferating, thus reducing inflammation. This is the generic variant of the Restasis. What is the difference between these two dry eyes treatments?

Cyclosporine is the active ingredient in both the generic and brand forms thus the method of action and interactions are very similar. The difference between the two forms is their brand name, pricing and packaging. Generic alternatives are low-priced since no brand names are linked with it plus there are no operating costs toward research, development and promotion.