What is Restasis?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board

Restasis® (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05 percent is an eye drop solution approved to increase tear production in people with decreased tear production caused by chronic dry eye inflammation. Chronic dry eye may also be called dry eye, dry eye syndrome, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca.1,2

What are the ingredients?

The active ingredient in Restasis is cyclosporine.1

How does Restasis work?

Chronic dry eye can cause a vicious cycle of inflammation. If the surface of the eye is inflamed, damage can happen to the glands that make tears, the tissues on the surface of the eye, and even the eyelids. Immune-modulating eye drops work to stop this inflammation.3

Decreasing inflammation can help the glands that make tears work better and help the overall eye surface heal. Anti-inflammatory eye drops can be especially helpful for dry eye associated with autoimmune diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome.3

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Restasis is thought to work on the immune system response by decreasing inflammation. However, the exact way it works is not well known. Restasis is a type of immune-modulating (anti-inflammatory) eye drop.1

Restasis helps decrease inflammation of the ocular surface and tear glands, restoring the eyes’ natural ability to produce tears. This drug blocks a specific protein that is linked to inflammation.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effect of Restasis and its generic version is a burning sensation of the eyes.1

Other less common side effects include:1

  • Redness, itching, discharge, or a feeling of something stuck in or on the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Visual disturbance, most often blurred vision
  • Eye swelling
  • Rare cases of face, tongue, and throat swelling
  • Eye injury from the vial tip during application

These are not all the possible side effects of Restasis, and they can vary depending on the person. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Restasis.

Things to know

There is a generic version of cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion.4

The safety and success of Restasis have not been established for anyone under 16 years of age.1

If you are pregnant, Restasis has not been shown to pass on to your unborn baby. However, risks of use have not been well studied in pregnant women. The safety of Restasis has not been established for those who are breastfeeding. Because of this, Restasis should be used with caution for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about whether Restasis is a good choice for you.1

Because Restasis is applied directly to the surface of the eye, there is a risk of eye injury and contamination. Try not to touch the vial tip to your eye or other surfaces to avoid injury or contamination.1

Restasis should not be used when wearing contact lenses or if there are any signs of an eye infection. If you choose to wear contact lenses, the lenses should be removed before using Restasis. You may reinsert your contact lenses 15 minutes after using Restasis.1

Before beginning treatment for chronic dry eye, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Restasis.