Eye Exercises of Acupoints: Their Impact on Refractive Error and Visual Symptoms in Chinese Urban Children
Myopia in school children is a critical public health problem, especially in Asian countries. Despite the eye exercise of acupoints intervention, the prevalence of myopia and myopia-related visual impairments are on the rise in both urban and rural China.
Background: Traditional Chinese eye exercises of acupoints involve acupoint self-massage. These have been advocated as a compulsory measure to reduce ocular fatigue, as well as to retard the development of myopia, among Chinese school children. This study evaluated the impact of these eye exercises among Chinese urban children.
Methods: 409 children (195 males, 47.7%), aged 11.1 ± 3.2 (range 6–17) years, from the Beijing Myopia Progression Study (BMPS) were recruited. All had completed the eye exercise questionnaire, the convergence insufficiency symptom survey (CISS), and a cycloplegic autorefraction. Among these, 395 (96.6%) performed the eye exercises of acupoints. Multiple logistic regressions for myopia and multiple linear regressions for the CISS score (after adjusting for age, gender, average parental refractive error, and time spent doing near work and outdoor activity) for the different items of the eye exercises questionnaire were performed.
Results: Only the univariate odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for “seriousness of attitude” towards performing the eye exercises of acupoints (0.51, 0.33-0.78) showed a protective effect towards myopia. However, none of the odds ratios were significant after adjusting for the confounding factors. The univariate and multiple β coefficients for the CISS score were -2.47 (p = 0.002) and -1.65 (p = 0.039), -3.57 (p = 0.002) and -2.35 (p = 0.042), and -2.40 (p = 0.003) and -2.29 (p = 0.004), for attitude, speed of exercise, and acquaintance with acupoints, respectively, which were all significant.
Conclusions: The traditional Chinese eye exercises of acupoints appeared to have a modest effect on relieving near vision symptoms among Chinese urban children aged 6 to 17 years. However, no remarkable effect on reducing myopia was observed.