Acupuncture for glaucoma

Simon K. Law, T. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Glaucoma is a multifactorial optic neuropathy in which there is an acquired loss of retinal ganglion cells at levels beyond normal age-related loss and corresponding atrophy of the optic nerve. Although there are many existing treatments, glaucoma is a chronic condition. Some patients may seek complementary or alternative medicine such as acupuncture to supplement their regular treatment. The underlying plausibility of acupuncture is that disorders related to the flow of Chi (the traditional Chinese concept translated as vital force or energy) can be prevented or treated by stimulating the relevant points on the body surface. Objectives: The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture in people with glaucoma. Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, ZETOC, CINAHL, AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine Database), TCMLARS (Traditional Chinese Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System), CBM (Chinese Biological Database), the Chinese Acupuncture Trials Register and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site ( in February 2006. We ran update searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS and ZETOC in July 2007. We also handsearched Chinese medical journals at Peking Union Medical College Library in April 2007. Selection criteria: We planned to include randomized and quasi-randomized clinical trials in which one arm of the study involved acupuncture treatment. Data collection and analysis: Two authors independently evaluated the search results against the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Main results: We found no randomized clinical trials and subsequently no meta-analysis was conducted. Evidence was limited to a few case series of small sample size. Authors' conclusions: At this time, it is impossible to draw reliable conclusions from the available data to support the use of acupuncture for the treatment of glaucoma. Since most glaucoma patients currently cared for by ophthalmologists do not use non-traditional therapy, the clinical practice decisions will have to be based on physician judgement and patients' value given this lack of data in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberCD006030
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • *.acupuncture therapy
  • Glaucoma [*.therapy]
  • Humans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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