New research shows that acupuncture benefits patients with glaucoma. Acupuncture was shown to improve intraocular pressure (IOP) and retrobulbar circulation (circulation behind the globe of the eye). Acupuncture was applied to UB2, Tai Yang (M-HN9), ST2, ST36, SP6, K3, Liv3, GB20, UB18, and UB23 bilaterally. Color Doppler imaging confirmed the improvement in circulation behind the eye. The improvements in IOP and eye circulation suggest that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma (OAG).
Glaucoma can cause blindness. Western medical treatments focus on controlling IOP and retrobulbar hemodynamics. The study concludes that acupuncture is effective in controlling these factors. Using color Doppler imaging, the researchers discovered that acupuncture lowers IOP and vessel resistance in patients with open-angle glaucoma.
The acupuncture needles were retained for 15 minutes on the anterior and posterior sides of the patients during each session. UB2, Taiyang, ST2, St36, SP6, K3, and Liv3 were applied to the patients when in the supine position and retained for 15 minutes. For the prone position, GB20, UB18, and UB23 were retained for 15 minutes. Needle insertion ranged from 3-10 mm in depth. No needle manipulation techniques either manual or through electroacupuncture were applied.
The researchers comment that this is the first study measuring the improvements of eye hemodynamics through the use of acupuncture. The researchers further comment that acupuncture achieves this result by decreasing vessel resistance in the eyes, specifically in the ophthalmic artery (OA) and short posterior ciliary artery (SPCA). The OA and SPCA originate from the carotid artery. The study concludes that a combination of medications combined with acupuncture improves glaucoma patient outcomes over patients who only receive medications.
Reference: Shin Takayama, Takashi Seki, Toru Nakazawa, Naoko Aizawa, Seri Takahashi, Masashi Watanabe, Masayuki Izumi, Soichiro Kaneko, Tetsuharu Kamiya, Ayane Matsuda, Akiko Kikuchi, Tomoyuki Yambe, Makoto Yoshizawa, Shin-ichi Nitta, and Nobuo Yaegashi. Short-Term Effects of Acupuncture on Open-Angle Glaucoma in Retrobulbar Circulation: Additional Therapy to Standard Medication. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 157090, 6 pages.