How did RESTASIS® become one of the biggest brands in eyecare, far exceeding its original sales forecasts? Three steps were key to this success.

1. Reveal the Disease Behind the Nuisance.
Dry eye had traditionally been viewed as a “nuisance” condition—underreported by patients and undertreated by eyecare professionals. The challenge was to increase awareness that dry eye is often a symptom of a more serious disease that affects 5 million people in the US.

The first step was to reveal and rename dry eye as Chronic Dry Eye Disease. The new name maintained enough of a connection to symptoms (“dry eye”) for patients to identify with it, yet was elevated by “chronic” and “disease” into something more serious and urgent.

2. Transform Brand Limitations into Strengths.
Before RESTASIS®, the typical way to treat dry eye was relieving symptoms with over-the-counter artificial tears.

The approved indication for RESTASIS® did not include relief of dry eye symptoms—so the brand could not claim the basic symptom relief offered by any OTC eyedrop. The indication for RESTASIS® was limited: it was only approved to provide an increase in tear production.

This limited indication was transformed into a major strength—for patients with Chronic Dry Eye Disease, only RESTASIS® improved their natural ability to make more of their own real tears.

  • “Natural” and “real” separated RESTASIS® from all artificial tears
  • “Make more of their own tears” promised something bigger than temporary symptom relief: patients using RESTASIS became more like their own real selves again

3. Find the Messenger Who Elevates the Message.
Data discovered through research revealed that testimony from actual Chronic Dry Eye sufferers strongly resonated with patients and eyecare professionals.

The “eureka” insight was that this testimony could be made stronger still by combining doctor and patient into one.

Dr. Alison Tendler was a practicing ophthalmologist who treated Chronic Dry Eye Disease and prescribed RESTASIS® for her patients; but she was also a Chronic Dry Eye patient who used RESTASIS® herself.

Dr. Tendler crystalized the desired dialogue between doctor and patient about the problem of Chronic Dry Eye Disease—and elevated the unique solution offered by RESTASIS®.

Want to talk more about this post? Email Tim Millas at or give him a call at 908-781-2600.

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