Prevalent use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients with inflammatory eye disease

Justine R. Smith, Nicola J. Spurrier, J. Travis Martin, James T. Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Aim: To study complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in patients who suffer from inflammatory eye disease. Methods: Current and previous use of CAM was determined by face-to-face interviews of consecutive patients attending a university-based tertiary-referral inflammatory eye disease clinic during a 3-month period. Additional sociodemographic and clinical information was obtained by review of clinical records. Results: Of the 89 eligible patients who were interviewed, 37 (42%) reported using CAM for the specific purpose of improving their eye condition. Most commonly used CAM included vitamin preparations (n = 13), herbal medicines (n = 10), prayer (n = 15) and acupuncture (n = 9). Multiple forms of CAM were used by one third of patients. Female gender (p = 0.05), a higher rating of occupational prestige (p = 0.05) and the diagnosis of uveitis rather than another form of inflammatory eye disease (p = 0.04) were significantly associated with reporting of current or past use of CAM. Most patients who used CAM considered that these therapies were benefiting their ocular condition, and few adverse events were reported. Sixteen percent of patients cited physician resources as a source for therapeutic information about CAM. Conclusions: Use of CAM is common among patients: With inflammatory eye diseases. Because CAM may influence the course of disease, cause adverse effects, and interact with conventional immunosuppressive treatment, physicians should routinely question patients with these diagnoses regarding the use of such therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
JournalOcular Immunology and Inflammation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Ophthalmology


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