Acupuncture for the treatment of dry eye: a multicenter randomised controlled trial with active comparison intervention (artificial teardrops)
To evaluate the effects of acupuncture compared to a control group using artificial tears.
Setting & design: multicenter randomised controlled trial (three local research hospitals of South Korea). Study Population: 150 patients with moderate to severe dry eye. Intervention: Participants were randomly allocated into four weeks of acupuncture treatment (bilateral BL2, GB14, TE 23, Ex1, ST1, GB20, LI4, LI11 and single GV23) or to the artificial tears group (sodium carboxymethylcellulose). Main Outcome Measure(s): The ocular surface disease index (OSDI), tear film break-up time (TFBUT), Schirmer Ι test, visual analogue scale (VAS) for self-assessment of ocular discomfort, general assessment (by both acupuncture practitioners and participants) and quality of life (QOL) through the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile-2 (MYMOP-2).
There was no statistically significant difference between two groups for the improvement of dry eye symptoms as measured by OSDI (MD -16.11, 95% CI [-20.91, -11.32] with acupuncture and -15.37, 95% CI [-19.57, -11.16] with artificial tears; P = 0.419), VAS (acupuncture: -23.84 [-29.59, -18.09]; artificial tears: -22.2 [-27.24, -17.16], P = 0.530) or quality of life (acupuncture: -1.32 [-1.65, -0.99]; artificial tears: -0.96 [-1.32, -0.6], P = 0.42) immediately after treatment. However, compared with artificial tears group, the OSDI (acupuncture: -16.15 [-21.38, -10.92]; artificial tears: -10.76 [-15.25, -6.27], P = 0.030) and VAS (acupuncture: -23.88 [-30.9, -16.86]; artificial tears: -14.71 [-20.86, -8.55], P = 0.018) were significantly improved in the acupuncture group at 8 weeks after the end of acupuncture treatment. TFBUT measurements increased significantly in the acupuncture group after treatment.
Acupuncture may have benefits on the mid-term outcomes related to dry eye syndrome compared with artificial tears.