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What is Optometric Phototherapy?

Please read through to the bottom to see the exciting work Dr. Nichols is working on to help grow the practice of optometric phototherapy! 

Optometric phototherapy is a form of light therapy that has been around since the 1920’s.1 Dr. Harry Riley Spitler wrote the Syntonic Principle as a doctoral thesis, which is the foundation of optometric phototherapy (commonly referred to as syntonics). His studies and reports showed the benefit of light therapy in both systemic and ocular systems. The light therapy is gathered via the eyes as a form of photobiomodulation.

Optometric phototherapy is an integral part of the therapy and rehabilitation program at Excel Neuro-Optometric Clinic. Optometric phototherapy helps with accelerating the results of the therapy, improves patient’s symptoms and findings, and allows our team of doctors and therapists to get into more advanced therapeutic techniques sooner. 

Light therapy is a growing area of research and is being used in many areas of medicine. Particularly optometric phototherapy has been shown to help professional athletes who have sustained traumatic brain injury return to play (click link to traumatic brain injury section)2, improved visual systems of patients with strabismus and amblyopia (click link to our strab/amblyopia sections)3, and other optometric cases.4 

Dr. Nichols has been using optometric phototherapy since beginning clinical practice in 2018. He has studied the testing of additional measures used in optometric phototherapy: the ill-sustained papillary constriction5 and the automated Functional Field Tester (Auto FCF Tester)6. His team of researchers is in the process of creating normative data for the Auto FCFTester and also the use of optometric phototherapy in patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury and photophobia (i.e., light sensitivity). The study is being conducted at Ohio State University and will assess dynamic pupillometry and specific filters designated by the College of Syntonic Optometry to help treat those patients that are suffering. 

1. Gottlieb R, Wallace L. Syntonic Phototherapy. Photomed Laser Surg. 2010;28(4):449-52. 

2. Curtis SJ. Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Accelerates Post-Concussion Syndrome Recovery in a Professional Athletes – A Case Report Present a New Paradigm. Vision Development & Rehabilitation 2017;3(3):167-78. 

3. Ibrahimi D, Mendiola-Santibanez JD, Cruz-Martinez E, et al. Changes in the Vrain Activity and Visual Performance of Patients with Strabismus and Amblyopia after a Complete Cycle of Light Therapy. Brain Sci. 2021;11(5):657. 

4. Pandey RK, Pandey P, Ghoshal R, et al. A Combined Approach of Syntonic Phototherapy along with Vision Therapy in Treatment of Rod-Cone Dystrophy: A Ray of Hope -  Case Series Report. Vision Development & Rehabilitation 2021;7(4):254-68

5. Nichols A, Schulman R. Objective Measurement of Sustained Pupillary Constriciton: A Pilot Study Using an App-Based Pupillometer. Vision Development and Rehabilitation. 2020;6(1):57-63. 

6. Nichols A, Schulman R, Curtis S, Stern C, et al. Automated Functional Color Field Tester (FCFTester) Trends and Reproducibility – A Multicenter Pilot Study. Vision Development & Rehabiliation. 2021;7(4):293-301. 

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