Intraocular pressure-lowering effect of auricular acupressure in patients with glaucoma: a prospective, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial

J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov;16(11):1177-84. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0020.


Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of auricular acupressure in controlling intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with glaucoma.

Design: Thirty-three (33) patients were recruited through advertisement at the clinic for glaucoma. These patients were divided into the auricular acupressure group (16 patients, 28 glaucoma eyes) and the sham group (17 patients, 32 glaucoma eyes). Patients in the acupressure group received auricular acupoint (kidney, liver, and eye) stimulator tapping and regular massage twice a day for 4 weeks. Patients in the sham group received tapping at sham auricular acupoints (wrist, shoulder, and jaw) without massage stimulation. The IOP and visual acuity (VA) were assessed before and after the treatment in the first 4 weeks and followed up, up to 8 weeks.

Results: After the treatment and at the 8-week follow-up, IOP and VA improved significantly in the acupressure group when compared with pretreatment (p < 0.05). The most significant IOP-lowering effect was seen at about 3-4 weeks after auricular acupressure. IOP returned to the initial level after acupressure had been discontinued for 4 weeks. Significant improvement of the uncorrected VA (UCVA) was noted at about 2-4 weeks in the acupressure group. UCVA improvement was also noted in the sham group. The difference was only significant in week 3. Improvement of the best-corrected VA was noted in both groups, but was only significant in week 2.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that auricular acupressure can be used as a complementary treatment to ameliorate IOP and VA for patients with glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Glaucoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure*
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Middle Aged
  • Single-Blind Method