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Can acupuncture help dry eye syndrome?

Q:  Please could you advise whether acupuncture is effective for dry eye syndrome or melbomian gland disfuction. I suffer from both these conditions and haven't had any relief from pharmaceutical medicines. I have read that acupuncture can help relieve symptoms,  but I'm not sure if it can help me.

A:  There is a small amount of research in the west into this condition, and a systematic review published a few years ago
concluded, as they invariably do, that there was insufficient evidence and that larger and better trials were necessary. Without going too much into the politics of research, it would be fair to say that we have serious reservations about the models of research favoured in the west, which don't really work that well with traditional acupuncture practice, and equally fair to say that even these inadequate models never attract the funding necessary to run larger trials.
However, dry eyes are a symptom as old as mankind, and the ancient Chinese has a number of ways of understanding how this symptom could arise. This rests, of course, on an entirely different understanding of the physiology of the body which is itself based on theories of the flow of energy, called 'qi', which is controlled by the functions of the Organs of the body. A practitioner's skill lies in determining whether a problem such as this is a sign of a local blockage, or whether it forms a part of a wider pattern of systemic unrest which needs to be treatment to get to the core of the problem. Indeed, in some of the older systems of traditional acupuncture, symptoms were not integral to the treatment plan; the practitioner treated the person in the simple but effective belief that a system in good balance repaired itself.
Our best advice is that you visit a BAcC member local to you to get a face to face assessment of your specific presentation, and whether the practitioner thinks that based on this acupuncture treatment may be of benefit to you.   

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