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I am 54 years old and my eyes have been diagnosed with dry eyes and the doctor put me on Restasis prescription, which I have been on for about six months now. Will I have to be on this forever or will my eyes replenish enough tears to go off it in a certain amount of time? What else can I do for my dry eyes?
Dry eyes is usually a chronic condition that tends to remain or get worse over time. Restasis probably works through suppressing inflammation in the glands that make tears, and this inflammation is believed to be a major cause of dry eye. Theoretically, if Restasis is effective in treating dry eyes in a particular patient, it would need to be continued to have an effect at least until a newer and better treatment is developed. However, in a moderate dry eye, due to patients' wishes because of the inconvenience and/or expense of chronic medicines, I have stopped Restasis after six months to a year of beneficial effects. The symptoms may remain improved for quite some time after stopping the Restasis. In a severe dry eye, where corneal damage and loss of vision is a possibility, I would continue Restasis indefinitely. Other common treatments for dry eyes include non-preserved lubricant drops, punctal occlusion and omega fatty acid supplementation.
Answered by: Gary Hirshfield, MD
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