Last month, Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institute (SCHMI) announced a partnership to conduct clinical trial for the treatment of dry eye. It called for 150 patients between the ages of 40 and 85 years old with symptoms of eye irritation, burning, or watering, to take part in this clinical trial.

The trial will be separated into three groups, where one group will use lubricants, and the other two will receive acupuncture and lubricant treatment.

Head of Ophthalmology Department of SCHMI, Dr Pat Lim, shared that this clinical trial will seek to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture and herbs in the treatment of dry eye, by monitoring tear osmolarity, inflammation, and tear evaporation and stability. The research team has received $30,000 worth of grants from the government as well.

Dr Lim added that the whole trial will last for six months to nine months, and thereafter, will collate the data for publication in 2017. Dr Lim shared that some 90 patients under the trial has already received significant improvement of their dry eye condition, with the use of acupuncture and herbs under Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and without the use of lubricants. She further elaborated on some of the TCM herbs used in this clinical trial, for example, Bai He, Chrysanthemum and Tai Zi Shen.

SERI’s Associate Professor Louis Tong shared in a phone interview on the common factors that can cause dry eye amongst the young and old. He shared that if this clinical trial is proven successful, there will be more treatment options for dry eyes in Singapore, and will help to relieve costs for patients. Assoc Prof Tong added that dry eye sufferers should take extra caution and care of their lifestyle, maintaining sufficient rest, exercise, healthy diet and avoid smoking.