Dry eye disease (DED) has a higher incidence in old age and is seen predominantly in females worldwide. Neurosensory abnormalities, ocular surface inflammation and damage, film instability, and hyperosmolarity are major and proven pathologies responsible for a poor quality of life. Tear breakup time and Schirmer’s I test are predominantly used for the evaluation of primary outcomes in patients undergoing conventional treatment. A previous meta-analysis of some relevant studies proved that combination of acupoints could be more effective than single acupoint treatment.
The present study aimed to undertake association rule mining and examined the potential kernel acupoint combination in DED treatment constructed from the extracted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) based on a previous meta-analysis.
We summarized 32 acupoints as binary data from the 12 eligible RCTs and analyzed them based on the Apriori algorithm.
TE23, BL2, ST2, ST1, EX-HN5, BL1, LI4, ST36, SP6, and KI3 were the 10 most frequently selected acupoints. The major associated rules in combination of acupoints were {TE23, LI4} ≥ {ST1} and {TE23, ST1} ≥ {LI4}, as inferred from 23 association rules.
For acupuncture treatment of DED, combined TE23, LI4, and ST1 acupoints could be settled as the kernel of acupoint combination.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.