Acupuncture, compared with nonpenetrating sham acupuncture, can improve tear film stability in patients with post-cataract surgery dry eye disease (DED), according to research published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
Researchers conducted a prospective, randomized, parallel, participant-masked, sham-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture compared with nonpenetrating sham acupuncture in patients with post-cataract surgery DED (Chinese Clinical Trial Registry Registration Number: ChiCTR1800020132).
The primary outcome was the change from baseline to week 8 in noninvasive tear film break-up time (TFBUT), and secondary outcomes included ocular surface disease index (OSDI) score, tear meniscus height (TMH), corneal fluorescein staining (CFS) score, meiboscore, and corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA). The researchers followed participants until week 12.
The investigators randomly assigned (1:1) 90 participants with post-cataract surgery DED to receive acupuncture (n=44; mean age, 67.55±4.74 years; 68.2% women) or non-penetrating sham acupuncture (n=46; mean age, 69.11±5.32 years; 60% women) twice weekly for 8 weeks.
The team demonstrated a mean change from baseline to week 8 in noninvasive TFBUT of 1.52 in the acupuncture group and 0.77 in the sham acupuncture group (between-group difference, -0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.39 to -0.12; P=.02).
They also found a mean change from baseline to week 8 in the OSDI score of -20.13 in the acupuncture group and -13.44 for sham acupuncture (between-group difference, 6.69; 95% CI, 0.64-12.74; P=.031). They observed no significantly different mean changes in TMH, CFS score, meiboscore, and CDVA between the groups.
“Among patients with post-cataract surgery DED, true acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture resulted in significant improvement in signs and symptoms of DED,” the researchers explain. :The effect of acupuncture on tear film stability persisted through the 4-week follow-up.”
Limitations of the study included no defined clinically meaningful difference for noninvasive TFBUT, the short follow-up duration, and potential surgery-related differences across surgeons.
Kong X, Long J, Liu H, Ding Q, Jin H, Zou Y. Randomized, sham-controlled trial of acupuncture for post-cataract surgery dry eye disease. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2022;49:101680. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2022.101680