Background: Dry eye syndrome is a frequent complication of refractive surgery. Acupuncture has been widely used to alleviate the associated symptoms. However, the use of acupuncture for patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome following refractive surgery has certain drawbacks. This pilot study aims to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture treatment in treating the signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome after refractive surgery.
Methods/design: Forty participants will be randomly assigned to the acupuncture plus usual care group or the usual care control group. The acupuncture plus usual care group will undergo treatments on seventeen acupuncture points, three times per week for four weeks. The control group will receive only usual care during the same period. The primary outcomes will be scores on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and the results of examinations at 1, 3, 5, and 13 weeks. The secondary outcomes will be Tear Film Break-up Time (TBUT), as well as scores on the Schirmer-I test, visual analog scale (VAS), and quality of life (QOL) questionnaire for the self-assessment of ocular discomfort. Digital photographs will be taken to document the pattern of fluorescein staining observed on the corneal surface. The results of the Schirmer-I test, TBUT, and fluorescein-stained corneal surface digital photographs will be assessed at the screening and at week 13. VAS scores will be assessed at the screening, as well as at 1, 3, 5, and 13 weeks. QOL will be evaluated at 1, 3, 5, and 13 weeks.
Discussion: This trial will provide primary data with which to investigate the clinical effectiveness and safety of acupuncture treatment for dry eye syndrome after refractive surgery.
Trial registration: Current Controlled (Identifier: KCT0000727).