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    Complementary and alternative medicine help dry eye patients

    Consider therapies such as acupuncture to augment your clinical tools


    Treating dry eye with acupuncture and CAM therapies

    Studies surrounding acupuncture and dry eye are by no means conclusive; however, the suggestion of even modest relief of symptoms should not be dismissed. A 2015 evidence-based meta-analysis concluded that acupuncture therapy is more effective than artificial tears for dry eye syndrome.1 Acupuncture was noted to increase tear break-up time and Schirmer measurements, as well as improve corneal staining scores as compared to artificial tear use.

    Additionally, Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) for monitoring the lower tear meniscus in dry eye after acupuncture treatment showed that acupuncture increased the low tear meniscus parameters for lipid-deficient and non-Sjögren’s dry eye patients.2

    Related: Dr. Kathy Mastrota explains antibiotic resistance

    Of interest, dry eye symptoms appear to be extremely prevalent in chronic migraine patients. Migraine and dry eye are both thought to have an inflammatory pathogenesis, and dry eye may present in migraine patients with greater presence of auras and longer disease and attack durations.3 Additionally, Sjögren’s patients demonstrate more chronic tension-type headaches vs. controls.4

    It is important to note that from a purely comparative effectiveness perspective, the evidence from clinical trials and meta-analyses makes a compelling case in support of a potentially important role for acupuncture as part of a treatment plan. Patients with migraine, tension-type headaches, and several different types of chronic headache disorders may benefit from such treatment.5

    Related: How bacteria load creates a biofilm

    Acupuncture is included in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, massage, yoga, and Ayurvedic medicine, among others.

    Katherine M. Mastrota, MS, OD, FAAO, Dipl ABO
    Director of Optometry, New York Hotel Trades Council, Hotel Association of New York City, Health Center, Inc.


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    Optometry Times A/V