At the beginning of August, I blogged about Restasis, as I had just started using it for my severe dry eye issues. For a while, I really didn't like the drug at all - it made my eyes burn and sting, and I couldn't wear my contacts. I decided to use it for several weeks, though, just to give my eyes time to get used to it.
Well, I'm glad I did that! Its been almost 4 weeks now and I have to say I have seen a big improvement in my eyes. I don't have to use artificial tears nearly as often (yay!!), and I can normally wear my contacts from 7:30am - 9pm or later with no problems. That is huge for me. (I was having to either not wear my contacts at all some days, or take them out as soon as I got home from work.)
I read a ton of discussion boards for Restasis, and it seems that you either love the drug or you hate it. It doesn't work for a lot of people, and I was highly skeptical of it working for me. I did pick up a few tips on the boards, though. For instance, the drug comes in individual tubes, and the instructions say to use one tube twice a day. But, you are only supposed to use one drop in each eye. There are approximately 6 drops in each tube. If you recap the tube and keep it in a dark, dry place, you can reuse the same tube until its empty (which is about 3-4 uses). That was so helpful! This is an expensive drug (almost $400/month out of pocket, though I only pay $50/month with my insurance), so I like to not waste any of it.
Another tip I picked up was to not use it every single day. I found that the drug was bothering my eyes if I used it every single day, twice a day. I don't have a real schedule for using it; if I think about it, I use the drops. It generally comes out to me using it every other day or so. Obviously, that's enough for me, since my eyes are much less dry now. Some days it still bothers my eyes (I get the burning/stinging temporarily), but not always. I have noticed another strange thing, too: lately, my eyes are fine until I take my contacts out. Then, some nights, I feel like there's something in my right eye. It'll stay like that until the next morning when I put my contacts in again. Weird, huh?
For the past 10 days or so, I've been taking a lot of antihistamines since my allergies have been giving me a fit. I take Claritin and Nasonex in the morning, and Zyrtec and Nasonex (again) at night. Normally, antihistamines really dry me out, especially my eyes, but surprisingly, the Restasis seems to be counteracting that tendency. That's good news!
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with Restasis now. Since I'm making each tube last a couple of days or more, it will be a while before I have to think about a refill. At that point, I'll have to talk to my eye doctor and see what he recommends. From what I understand, Restasis is supposed to help you make more of your own tears. So maybe if I take it for a while, I'll make my own tears and won't need anything else. We'll see. For now, I'm just gonna enjoy comfortably wearing my contacts daily again! (Even if I am hacking up a lung and blowing my nose every 5 minutes...lol.)