Acupuncture/ pressure

Treating dry eye with acupuncture

Researchers at the EYE and ENT Hospital of Fudan University, in Shanghai, China compared acupuncture to artificial tears.

First, the details.

  • The results from 2 studies in 44 patients with xerophthalmia (dry eye) were combined for this report.
    • 1 study used 10 sessions of acupuncture.
    • The other study administered Dextran 70 artificial tears.
  • Each course of treatment lasted 21 days.
  • Examinations were made on the day a patient was chosen to join the study, 1 hour after completing treatment, and 3 weeks after stopping treatment.

And, the results.

  • There was no significant difference in symptoms and signs of dry eye 1 hour after treatment between groups.
  • 3 weeks after completing treatment, the reduction of symptoms and signs in the acupuncture group was significantly larger than in the artificial tears group.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Both acupuncture therapy and artificial tear therapy have an immediate positive effect on the symptoms of xerophthalmia.”

Several years ago, researchers at Nanjing University of TCM, in Jiangsu, China reported that in people with dry eyes, acupuncture improved tear secretion, increased tear film stability, and improved local eye symptoms.

Question: Is acupuncture’s longer duration of activity worth the time and expense compared to the more frequent use of cheap eye drops?

7/29/10 22:21 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.