Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for ocular symptoms, tear film stability and tear secretion in dry eye patients.
Methods: This is a randomized, patient-assessor blinded, sham acupuncture controlled trial. Forty-two participants with defined moderate to severe dry eye underwent acupuncture treatment three times a week for 3 weeks. Seventeen standard points (GV23; bilateral BL2, GB14, TE23, Ex1, ST1 and GB20; and unilateral SP3, LU9, LU10 and HT8 on the left for men and right for women) with 'de qi' manipulation for the verum acupuncture group and seventeen sham points of shallow penetration without other manipulation for the sham group were applied during the acupuncture treatment. Differences were measured using the ocular surface disease index (OSDI), the visual analogue scale (VAS) of ocular discomfort, the tear film break-up time (BUT) and the Schimer I test with anaesthesia. In addition, adverse events were recorded.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences between results on the OSDI, VAS, BUT or Schimer I tests from baseline between the verum and sham acupuncture groups. However, results from the within-group analysis showed that the OSDI and VAS in both groups and the BUT in the verum acupuncture group were significantly improved after 3 weeks of treatment. No adverse events were reported during this trial.
Conclusion: Both types of acupuncture improved signs and symptoms in dry-eye patients after a 4-week treatment. However, verum acupuncture did not result in better outcomes than sham acupuncture.
© 2010 The Authors. Acta Ophthalmologica © 2010 Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica Foundation.