Dry Eye

Can Electroacupuncture Effectively Treat Dry Eye?

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Electroacupuncture involves small electric currents being passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. These currents may be used to increase stimulation to acupuncture points around the eyes. A new study in Current Eye Research examined whether electroacupuncture can be used to treat dry eye.

Participants were randomized into electroacupuncture and acupuncture groups. Ocular surface disease index (OSDI), amount of tear production, and tear film break-up time (BUT) were observed to evaluate efficacy. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) were used for functional cluster and signaling pathway analysis of the differentially expressed proteins.

Results showed that OSDI scores dropped and BUT extended in both groups, and the tear production increased only in the electroacupuncture group (all P < .01). GO analysis showed that the differential cytokines were mainly involved in cellular interaction, signaling pathways and reactions to stimuli. KEGG analysis revealed that the signaling pathways were mainly responsible for interactions between cytokines or between cytokines and their receptors.

As such, the researchers believe electroacupuncture can effectively treat dry eye by increasing tear secretion and extending BUT.


Zhang D, Zhao Y, Yang Y-T, et al. A mechanism study of electroacupuncture for dry eye syndrome by targeting conjunctival cytokine expressions [epub ahead of print]. Curr Eye Res. 1-9. doi: 10.1080/02713683.2019.1666997.

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