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Optometric phototherapy, is the branch of ocular science dealing with the application of selected light frequencies through the eyes. It has been used clinically for over 70 years in the field of optometry with continued success in the treatment of visual dysfunctions, including brain injuries and emotional disorders.
In optometry the use of phototherapy to treat visual dysfunctions is also called Syntonics.
Interest in the effect of light on the body intensified earlier this century. Most of the current therapeutic techniques used in syntonics are based on the work done by Dr. Harry Riley Spitler in the 1920s and 1930s. Dr. Spitler, who had both optometric and medical degrees, began researching and using phototherapy in 1909. Spitler, the author of "The Syntonic Principle", conceived the principles for a new science that he called "Syntonics". Syntonics, from the word syntony (to bring into balance), refers physiologically to a balanced, integrated nervous system.
Certain biochemical conditions in the brain need to be present before effective cortical plasticity and new functions can occur. Neurotransmitters trigger this biochemistry and allow for additional synoptic connections to initiate movement and growth in new directions. Colored light therapy can act as a powerful tool to stimulate the biochemistry of the brain through the visual system by way of the retinal-hypothalmus brain connection.