Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Eye exercises of acupoints: their impact on refractive error and visual symptoms in Chinese urban children

Zhong Lin12, Balamurali Vasudevan3, Vishal Jhanji45, Tie Ying Gao6, Ning Li Wang2, Qi Wang7, Ji Wang7, Kenneth J Ciuffreda8 and Yuan Bo Liang12*

Author Affiliations

1 The Affiliated Eye Hospital, School of Optometry and Ophthalmology, Wenzhou Medical University, 270 West College Road, Wenzhou 325027, Zhejiang, China

2 Beijing Tongren Eye Center, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University; Beijing Ophthalmology & Visual Science Key Lab, Beijing, China

3 College of Optometry, Mid Western University, Glendale, AZ, USA

4 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

5 Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

6 Handan Eye Hospital, Handan, Hebei, China

7 Center for Studies in Constitution Research of Traditional Chinese Medicine, School of Basic Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China

8 Department of Biological and Vision Sciences, SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY, USA

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:306  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-306

Published: 7 November 2013



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.


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.


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.


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.

Eye exercises; Acupoints; Myopia; Ocular fatigue; Near vision symptoms