August 27, 2018
1 min read

Study shows benefits of eye-specific acupuncture in patients with glaucoma

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Eye-specific acupuncture treatment had beneficial short-term effects on ocular blood flow in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma.

The study was conducted in 56 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) treated with topical antiglaucoma medication. Patients were randomized into one eye-specific acupuncture treatment group and one eye-unspecific acupuncture treatment of 28 patients each.

Acupuncture treatment was performed with disposable stainless steel needles by an experienced, licensed acupuncturist. Measurements of OBF were taken with the Heidelberg retina flowmeter (HRF, Heidelberg Engineering), the dynamic vessel analyzer (DVA, Zeiss) and the OBF flowmeter (OBF Labs).

Analyzed with HRF, the patients showed no significant change in parapapillary retinal blood flow before and after acupuncture. DVA also did not reveal significant changes in retinal vessel diameters before and after the treatment in either group.

Data taken from the OBF flowmeter showed a decrease of mean OBF-IOP from 16.1 mm Hg to 15.3 mm Hg after the eye-specific treatment, an increase in mean pulse amplitude from 3.4 mm Hg to 3.7 mm Hg and a change in mean pulsatile OBF from 5.5 μL/min to 6.7 μL/min after the treatment.

In the eye-unspecific treatment group, mean OBF-IOP was 16.4 mm Hg before and 16.5 mm Hg after acupuncture. Mean pulse amplitude was 4.3 mm Hg before and 4.4 mm Hg after the treatment, and mean POBF changed insignificantly from 6.3 μL/min to 6.8 μL/min after the unspecific acupuncture.

“In our prospective randomized study, we were able to show that an eye-specific acupuncture treatment regimen affected ocular blood flow in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma in terms of a significant increase of pulsatile choroidal blood flow. However, retinal blood flow was not affected by acupuncture. Our short-term results may be indicative for a potential beneficial effect of acupuncture in glaucoma patients. However, further studies are certainly needed to confirm our preliminary results,” Naim Terai, MD, co-author of the study, told – by Michela Cimberle


Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.