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Acupuncture provides additional benefit in dry eye treatment compared with artificial tears, and is associated with evidence of reduced inflammation. One hundred and fifty participants were treated with artificial tears alone, with eight added sessions of acupuncture, or with additional daily oral herbal medicine (Qi Ju Gan Lu Yin, Lycium Derry and Chrysanthemum Beverage) over a one-month period. The acupuncture points used consisted of five local points around the eyes (Chengqi ST-1, Cuanzhu BL-2, Fengchi GB20, Tai Yang M-HN-9, three tear needles) and three distal points on the limbs (Sanyinjiao SP-6, Hegu L.I.-4, Zusanli ST-36). Participants treated with acupuncture were more likely to experience reduced symptom scores compared with those who received artificial tears (88 per cent versus 72 per cent). Participants in the acupuncture group also showed reduced conjunctival redness compared with artificial tears. Inflammatory cytokine levels (tumour necrosis factor α and interleukin 4) were significantly reduced in tear fluid following acupuncture. Herbal medicine did not lead to significantly different symptom scores compared with artificial tears.

Acupuncture and herbal formulation compared with artificial tears alone: evaluation of dry eye symptoms and associated tests in randomised clinical trial. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2018 Jun 18;3(1):e000150.


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