Dry Eyes are such a common problem, yet difficult to treat sometimes. They can also be multifactorial, which means a number of things can be contributing the final outcome of dry irritated eyes.
Over the years many of us will have noticed that traditional Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture has drifted slowly into western. This has occurred because acupuncture has proven itself a very useful treatment for many conditions, in particular chronic pain.
Acupuncture works off the principal of stimulating key points in the human anatomy, which in turn can prove to be therapeutic.
A group of doctors in the US Army ran a study recently to see whether accepted acupuncture techniques had any influence on a group dry eyes of patients.
To make sure there was no bias in the results, there was a treatment group and a control group that was given sham acupuncture – neither patient or examining doctor knew who had the “real” treatment versus the “sham” treatment.
The study was only small, possibly as a precursor to a larger study if anything positive was discovered from this small pilot study. Seventeen volunteers with documented dry eye problems were divided into two groups. Both groups had two lots of treatments separated by at least 24 hours (8 real and 9 control).
Over six months both patient groups were examined exhaustively with multiple questionnaires and observational tests at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months to see whether there was a difference between the two groups and ultimately looking for a significant improvement in the “real treatment” group.
What is interesting is that up to 50% of the population seeks alternative treatment options when it comes to their health so this group would be eagerly waiting to hear the conclusion of this great little study.
Unfortunately in this small sample size the acupuncture did not in anyway improve signs or symptoms of the dry eye patients. Looks like we can strike acupuncture off our large list of dry eye treatment options!