In the recently published report, scholars working in Cochrane Base stated that the amount of high-quality randomized clinical trials describing therapeutic influence of acupuncture on intraocular pressure is -at present – to small to provide binding conclusions (source)3. They included merely one research into their analysis and this research concerned the acupressure of ear (source)4. The results of this trial are interesting. It occurs that both after treatments and after 8 weeks since the completion of the treatment in the researched group, the intraocular pressure was substantially reduced and simultaneously the visus, or acuity measurement, improved as well. The best improvement was achieved in 2-3 week after a series of treatments, when the statistical divergence between groups was clearly visible.
Initial reports on the efficiency of acupuncture in intraocular pressure reduction and sight improvement were also published by Japanese researchers (source)5. In case of eleven patients with glaucoma a series of 10 acupuncture treatments (two times per week for the period of 5 weeks) resulted in prominent reduction of intraocular pressure and problems with acuity of vision.
There are various propositions for explanation of mechanisms of intraocular pressure reduction by acupuncture intervention. In 2011 the results of the experiment were published, which proved that acupuncture improves the retrobulbar circulation and reduces intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma with open iridocorneal angle (source)6. It must be stressed, however, that as in the case of the previous trial, the researched group was small- only 11 patients.
The same team, using non-invasive USG examination with colour Doppler (CDI) described thoroughly the haemodynamic alterations in the upper arteria mesenterica, peripheral arteries and retrobulbar arteries under the includence of acupuncture in acupoints Liv-3 and ST-36 (source)7. In case of patients with glaucoma with open iridocorneal angle, acupuncture caused substantial decrease of vascular resistance in central retinal artery and short posterior ciliary arteries.
In examination on rats using electroretinography, which is the examination of alterations of retina action potential, the neuroprotective activity of acupuncture was proved which led to preservation of the retinal action in animals with induced glaucoma (source)8.
1 Law SK, Li T „Acupuncture for glaucoma” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;5:CD006030. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006030.pub3
2 Her JS, Liu PL, Cheng NC, Hung HC, Huang PH, Chen YL, Lin CP, Lee CH, Chiu CC, Yu JS, Wang HS, Lee YJ, Shen JL, Chen WC, Chen YH “Intraocular pressure-lowering effect of auricular acupressure in patients with glaucoma: a prospective, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial.” J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov;16(11):1177-84. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0020.
3 Kurusu M, Watanabe K, Nakazawa T, Seki T, Arai H, Sasaki H, Fuse N, Tamai M “Acupuncture for patients with glaucoma.” Explore (NY). 2005 Sep;1(5):372-6
4 Takayama S, Seki T, Nakazawa T, Aizawa N, Takahashi S, Watanabe M, Izumi M, Kaneko S, Kamiya T, Matsuda A, Kikuchi A, Yambe T, Yoshizawa M, Nitta S, Yaegashi N. Short-term effects of acupuncture on open-angle glaucoma in retrobulbar circulation: additional therapy to standard medication.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:157090. doi: 10.1155/2011/157090. Epub 2011 Mar 7
5 Takayama S, Watanabe M, Kusuyama H, Nagase S, Seki T, Nakazawa T, Yaegashi N. „Evaluation of the effects of acupuncture on blood flow in humans with ultrasound color Doppler imaging.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:513638. doi: 10.1155/2012/513638. Epub 2012 Jun 21.
6 Chan HH, Leung MC, So KF. “Electroacupuncture provides a new approach to neuroprotection in rats with induced glaucoma.” J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Apr;11(2):315-22.