Inflammation caused by dry eye syndrome and the disruption it causes in tear production can lead to discomfort and may risk damage to the cornea or abnormal vision. Medications like Restasis help increase the production of tears, which can then lubricate the cornea and help prevent infection. Medicare coverage for this prescription medication may be available through certain plans.
How Restasis Works
Dry eye syndrome typically arises due to other medical conditions or circumstances, which can include gland dysfunction, allergies or as a reaction to certain medications used to treat blood pressure or hormone deficiency. As an immunosuppressant, Restasis targets inflammation on the surface of the eye caused by dry eye syndrome and reduces it. Once inflammation is treated, tear production may resume normal function.
Because Restasis may take several applications before an increase in tear production occurs, your doctor may also suggest using artificial tears to help keep your eyes lubricated. You may need to wait for a certain time after using artificial tears before using Restasis. If you wear contacts, you will need to take them about before using Restasis. Your doctor can help you determine how long you should wait before inserting your contacts again after treatment.
In order to treat eye inflammation appropriately with Restasis, it is important to follow the prescription’s guidelines for dosage amounts and frequency of application. Even if your dry eye symptoms subside, be sure to finish the full course of treatment unless your doctor advises you otherwise.
Side Effects and Risks Associated with Restasis
As with many ophthalmologic medications, there may be a stinging or burning sensation during application. While this should subside shortly after being administered, inform your doctor if it lasts or if the pain is severe.
Check the ingredients of any new medication you may be prescribed for possible allergens. If you have experienced an allergic reaction to any medication before, let your doctor know so they can help you assess the risks of an allergic reaction to Restasis.
Interactions with other medications can occur, so informing your prescriber of all current medications can help avoid any issues between Restasis and other drugs. Restasis is not found to be effective in patients who use anti-inflammatory eye drops or who have tear duct plugs.
Due to being an immunosuppressant, certain pre-existing medical conditions may mean that Restasis cannot be prescribed as an effective treatment for your case of dry eye syndrome. Your full medical history should be shared with your prescriber before taking Restasis to avoid any complications.
Vision issues after using Restasis are rare, but there may be temporary blurriness as your eyes adjust to the medication. If your vision is blurry, you should not operate a vehicle or other equipment until your vision clears. If blurred vision persists or becomes worse over time, alert your healthcare professional. They can also help you determine if long-term use of Restasis may increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
Medicare Coverage for Restasis
Original Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover prescription drugs taken at home. However, you may have other options available to help you cover costs associated with a Restasis prescription. Medicare’s Part D prescription drug coverage can be used alongside Original Medicare. A stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) may have a monthly premium, an annual deductible, and share-of-cost amounts to consider.
Many Medicare recipients choose to get their Part A and Part B coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits, including prescription drug coverage. Each Part D drug plan may have its own formulary, or list of covered drugs, and tiers of pricing. Check your plan’s formulary to find out if Restasis is covered and how it is classified according to certain pricing tiers.