Purpose: To assess the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing anxiety in patients having cataract surgery under topical anesthesia. Setting: Vita-Salute University of Milan and IRCCS H. San Raffaele, Milan, Italy. Methods: In a prospective randomized double-blind controlled trial, anxiety levels before and after cataract surgery in 3 groups (A = no acupuncture, B = true acupuncture starting 20 minutes before surgery, C = sham acupuncture starting 20 minutes before surgery) were compared using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Twenty-five patients scheduled for inpatient phacoemulsification were enrolled in each group. All surgeries were performed using topical anesthesia. Exclusion criteria were refusal to provide informed consent, use of drugs with sedative properties, psychiatric disease, pregnancy, knowledge of the principles of acupuncture, anatomic alterations, or cutaneous infections precluding acupuncture at the selected acupoints. Results: Preoperative anxiety levels were significantly lower only in Group B (P = .001). Anxiety in Group B was significantly lower than in Group A (P = .001) and Group C (P = .037). Regarding postoperative anxiety, the mean VAS score was 39 ± 5 in Group A, 19 ± 3 in Group B, and 31 ± 4 in Group C. The difference was significant only between Group A and Group B (P = .003). Conclusion: Acupuncture was effective in reducing anxiety related to cataract surgery under topical anesthesia.
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