The effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of dry eye has been confirmed, but the association between acupoint selection and therapeutic effect has remained to be elucidated.
In the present study, a systematic review and meta‑analysis were performed to evaluate the effect of periocular acupoints and periocular acupoints plus body acupoints compared with AT for the treatment of dry eye disease (DED). The PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, Ovid, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and Chonqing VIP Information, Co., Ltd. databases were searched with entries until 10 July 2018 considered. Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Meta‑analyses were performed to compare the effects of acupuncture with those of conventional treatment (including AT or other non‑acupuncture therapies).
The primary outcomes, including tear break‑up time (BUT), Schirmer's I test (SIT) result and Symptom scores were analyzed. Subgroup analysis was performed for periocular acupoints only and periocular acupoints plus body acupoints. A total of 12 studies comprising 900 participants were included. In the primary meta‑analysis, a significant improvement in the BUT [n=1,209, weighted mean difference (WMD)=1.01, 95% CI: 0.56‑1.84, P<0.00001], SIT result (n=1,107, WMD=1.98, 95% CI: 0.44‑3.34, P<0.00001) and Symptom scores (n=402, WMD=‑1.02, 95% CI: ‑1.33 to ‑0.72, P<0.00001) was obtained to evaluate the clinical efficacy of acupuncture and AT.
Furthermore, periocular acupoints plus body acupoints were more effective in the treatment of DED. However, the total sample size of subjects with only periocular acupoints in the treatment of DED was too small to get any ﬁrm conclusions. Further large RCTs are warranted.
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