Acupuncture/ pressure

Acupuncture to treat dry eye

Prof. Ernst reviewed reviewed the evidence for treating xerophthalmia (Greek for dry eyes) or Sjögren syndrome (autoimmune disease were white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands).

First, the details.

  • 6 studies were included in the review.

And, the results.

3 studies compared acupuncture vs artificial tears.

  • Acupuncture significantly improved tear break-up times (longer is better), Schirmer test scores, response rates, and the region of cornea fluorescent staining compared to artificial tears.
    • Schirmer’s test is used to determine whether the eye produces enough tears to keep it moist.
    • More about the tests used to evaluate dry eye syndrome is here.

3 studies compared acupuncture + artificial tears vs artificial tears alone.

  • 2 studies reported superior effects of acupuncture + artificial tears on Schirmer test scores and frequency of artificial tear usage.
  • 1 study showed no difference.

The bottom line?

The authors considered the studies to be of poor quality, making it difficult to reach firm conclusions about the value of acupuncture.

They concluded, “These results provide limited evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating dry eye.”

3/27/10 21:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.