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How effective is Restasis for dry eyes?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on July 30, 2021.

Official answer


Dry eye syndrome is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Lubricants and steroids have been used to treat dry eyes, but cyclosporine—the generic name for Restasis—has become an increasingly useful option, and it has been shown in many studies to be both safe and effective.

In one study, most study participants had significant improvement in symptoms. In the largest study of more than 350 patients, 72% of participants were satisfied with the results after taking 0.05% cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion for dry eye syndrome.

Restasis works by decreasing swelling in the eye and increasing your eye’s ability to produce tears.

  • The medication comes as an eye drop in a single-use vial and should be used twice a day timed about 12 hours apart.
  • The drops should only be used in the eyes, never swallowed or applied to the skin.
  • Do not let the dropper tip come into contact with your eyes, fingers, face or any other surface—doing so may allow bacteria the opportunity to get into the eye drops.
  • If you wear contact lenses, you should take them out before using Restasis.

As with any drug, Restasis can cause side effects. The most common side effect is a temporary burning sensation.

Other side effects can include:

  • Eye redness
  • Discharge
  • Watery eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Blurred vision

Restasis should be stored at room temperature. You should avoid storing it in the bathroom or other areas of your home with high amounts of humidity. Make sure to keep it tightly closed in the container it comes in, and keep it away from children.

  1. Schultz C. Safety and Efficacy of Cyclosporine in the Treatment of Chronic Dry Eye. Ophthalmology and Eye Disease. 2014; 6: 37–42. Published online 2014 Jun 24.
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Highlights of Prescribing Information. November 2012. Available at: [Accessed July 19, 2021].
  3. Allergan. Restasis helps patients make more of their own tears. Available at: [Accessed July 19, 2021].
  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus. Cyclosporine Ophthalmic. Available at: [Accessed July 19, 2021].

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