Drugs Home > What Is Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Emulsion Used For?

Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion is prescribed for treating chronic dry eyes in people age 16 and older. It works to increase tear production by decreasing eye inflammation. Because this medication can take three to six months to start working, you can use other products (such as artificial tears) to help relieve dry eyes during treatment. Off-label uses of cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion include treating glaucoma and keratitis.

An Introduction to Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Emulsion Uses

Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion (Restasis®) is a prescription medication used to treat chronic dry eyes. This medication increases the eyes' ability to make tears when tear production is reduced due to eye inflammation.
 
Medically, "dry eyes" are known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Sometimes, this condition is also called dry eye syndrome or dysfunctional tear syndrome. There are many possible causes of chronic dry eyes, including but not limited to:
 
 
 
  • Contact lens use
  • Eye surgery
  • Environmental conditions, such as low humidity.
     
Oftentimes, people with dry eyes have decreased tear production due to inflammation. Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion is approved to treat this type of dry eye and works by helping the eyes produce more tears.
 
Many of the symptoms of dry eyes can affect a person's vision, which can in turn affect daily activities. In addition, symptoms of dry eyes can be very uncomfortable and may include:
 
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Watery eyes
  • Feeling a gritty sensation, like sand is in the eye
  • Sensitivity to bright light.
     
Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion is one of many possible treatments for dry eyes. The specific treatment recommended will depend on how bothersome the symptoms are and what is causing them. Other possible treatments for dry eyes may include but are not limited to:
 
  • Environmental strategies, such as:
     
    • Using a humidifier
    • Avoiding smoky areas
    • Blinking often
 
  • Artificial tears
  • Eye ointments, which are thicker than artificial tears and often used at night
  • Punctal plugs, small devices inserted into the tear ducts
  • Surgery.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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