If you have dry eyes, artificial tears can supplement your natural tears and punctal plugs (also called punctum and lacrimal plugs) can slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes. But neither of these treatment options addresses the underlying problem that may be causing your dry eyes: You're not producing enough tears!
There is currently only one product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA) that can help you produce more of your body's natural tears. It's called Restasis.
Restasis (Allergan) was developed to relieve dry eye in individuals who are not producing enough tears due to chronic inflammation of the eye and its associated structures, including the lacrimal glands.
The active ingredient in Restasis is cyclosporine, which has an immunosuppressant effect. It appears to improve tear production by reducing inflammation and increasing the number of mucin-secreting goblet cells in the conjunctiva. (Mucin is an important component to the normal tear film. It helps the tear layer spread across the eye and adhere to the surface of the eye.)
The standard Restasis treatment is one drop in each eye, twice a day. It may take several weeks before a noticeable beneficial effect is seen, and it may take up to 6 months for Restasis to provide its maximum improvement in tear production.