MEDIA RELEASE For Immediate Release
Singapore Eye Research Institute and Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution conclude Collaborative Clinical Trial Study on Treating Dry Eye with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Singapore, 28 June 2018 – Dry Eye is a medical condition common among the middle-aged population. Highly prevalent in the Asian population, more severe cases of Dry Eye can significantly affect the patient’s quality of life. Seeing the need to tackle this condition with a more holistic approach, the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution (SCHMI) embarked on a three-year collaborative clinical trial to develop a treatment that combines the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and modern medicine. A joint press conference was held today to announce the findings of the clinical trial.
The clinical study involved 150 patients who were evaluated over a period of four weeks in a randomized-controlled study. The patients, all between 40-85 years old, showed symptoms such as irritation or burning in the eyes.
As it was observed that study participants also exhibited a syndrome called Lung Kidney Yin Deficiency, the trial explored a holistic approach to treating the condition. This was done by coupling lubricating eye drops with either acupuncture or an oral herbal formulation when treating Dry Eye.
All participants were treated with Artificial Tear alone (AT), with some grouped to undergo additional 8 sessions of Acupuncture (AC) or additional consumption of Herbal Medicine (HB) over the course of 30 days. It was observed that participants in the AT group saw 72% of improvement of comfort levels, while participants in the AC group saw 88% of improvement – an additional 16% in comparison. The AC group also showed a larger reduction of conjunctival redness in the eyes compared to the AT group.
 Lung kidney yin deficiency refers to one pattern differentiation categorized under systemic health, which usually comes with the symptoms such as dry eye, soreness, irritation, foreign body sensation (eye symptoms) and dry mouth, sore throat, cough, knee and back soreness and ache, frequent urination (body symptoms).
 The Herbal Medicine refers to a concoction of Chinese Herbs
Separately, while participants who consumed Daily Oral Herb (HB) showed some improvement - the results were not as obvious as the advantages of using acupuncture.
Overall, the study provides conclusive evidence that treatment of Dry Eye with acupuncture and lubricant eye drops works better compared to using just eye drops, and also helps to reduce inflammation in the eyes. Additionally, no negative side
effects were observed during the trial period, which suggests the safety of using TCM to treat the Dry Eye condition.
Professor Louis Tong, Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist & Principal Clinician Scientist at Singapore National Eye Centre and Singapore Eye Research Institute and the Principal Investigator for this study shared, “Dry Eye is very much a condition that stems from modern living. Most adults are prone to this due to poor dietary habits, lack of proper sleep & exercise and prolonged computer use. Therefore, our study aimed to explore treating this condition with a holistic approach by combining the strengths of Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine. We hope this partnership with SCHMI has illustrated the importance of cross-institutional efforts in bringing about high-impact research.”
Chief Physician Dr Pat Lim, TCM Ophthalmologist & Board Vice Chairman at Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution and the Principal Collaborator for this study shared, “We are glad that TCM efficacy in treating dry eye has been proven in this study; We have taken the first step through the study and we hope we can explore further opportunities to work with SERI in the long term. TCM Ophthalmology has been established more than a thousand years ago and we believe by integrating the strengths of Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine, we can develop the ultimate solution for serving our eye patients in near future.”
Mr Liew Siaw Foo, Board Chairman of Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution shared, “Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution (SCHMI) has been established for 65 years now, progressing from a charitable medical institution serving the poor and needy, onto a path where we engage in scientific research studies. These 3 years of research collaboration between SCHMI and SERI has been a rare and wonderful experience for both organizations, and we hope that such collaborations will not cease after this study. We also hope that integrated medicine can be adopted as the new direction for healthcare services in Singapore, thereby providing patients with the most convenient and therapeutic advantages.”
About Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI)
Established in 1997, SERI is Singapore’s national research institute for ophthalmic and vision research. SERI’s mission is to conduct high impact eye research with the aim to prevent blindness, low vision and major eye diseases common to Singaporeans and Asians. SERI has grown from a founding team of five in 1997 to a faculty of 226, encompassing clinician scientists, scientists, research fellows, PhD students and support staff. This makes SERI one of the largest research institutes in Singapore and the largest eye research institute in Asia-Pacific. In addition, SERI has over 100 adjunct faculties from various eye departments, biomedical institutes and tertiary centres in Singapore. SERI has amassed an impressive array of more than 2880 publications, scientific papers as of May 2017, and has secured more than $265 million in external peer-reviewed competitive grants. To date (as of May 2017), SERI’s faculty has been awarded more than 419 national and international prizes and filed more than 122 patents. Serving as the research institute of the Singapore National Eye Centre and affiliated to the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, SERI undertakes vision research in collaboration with local clinical ophthalmic centres and biomedical research institutions, as well as major eye centres and research institutes throughout the world.
For more information about SERI, visit
About Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution (SCHMI)
Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution (SCHMI) is a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Clinic in Singapore. It was set up by Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association (SCPA) to build a regional centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment, scientific research, rehabilitation care and clinical teaching. It aims to provide subsidized medical treatment and medicines, help the sick, and contribute to the Singapore health care system. Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution has several specialty departments, which cater to patients with a variety of medical illnesses including medical conditions from internal medicine, gynaecology, paediatrics, acupuncture, dermatology, etc. SCHMI currently owns 5 branches in Singapore (Toa Payoh HQ, Yishun Branch, Woodlands Branch, Bukit Panjang Branch and Joo Chiat Branch).
For more information about SCHMI, visit
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Singapore National Eye Centre