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Stroke and Brain Injury
Syntonic Optometry - What is it?
Syntonics or optometric phototherapy, most often called syntonics, 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 strabismus (eye turns), amblyopia (lazy eye), focusing and convergence problems, learning disorders, and the aftereffects of stress and trauma. In recent years, Syntonics has been shown to be effective in the treatment of brain injuries and emotional disorders.
Light is essential to life. Our planet revolves around the sun and all life on earth is sustained by sunlight. The Greeks were the first to document the use of phototherapy. Currently light is used on a variety of disorders from the "bili" lights used on jaundiced newborns to the more recent psychiatric use of white light for treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In optometry the use of phototherapy to treat visual dysfunctions is 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.
Geoff Shayler and Bill Hay having been using syntonics within their vision therapy programs for over 15 years, longer than anyone else in the UK. Geoff is the only UK Optometrist who has been granted Fellowship of the College of Syntonic Optometry
Incorporating syntonics into a vision therapy program has been shown to substantially reduce the time an individual has to carry out vision therapy. Typically VT programs take from 6 - 18 months, using syntonics within an intensive "In office" program can reduce this time to less than 3 weeks followed by a month of home therapy to further establish the changes that have occurred in visual performance
In 2013, Geoff was very honoured to be presented with the prestigous H Riley Spitler award at the 81st Light and Vision conference held in Florida, only the third time it has been presented to an Optometrist outside the US
Courses in Syntonic Optometry
Geoff Shayler organised the first 2 courses held in the UK in 1997 and 2000. Bill Hay and Geoff Shayler presented another course in Syntonic Optometry at Warwick in 2004. Since then, Geoff has lectured at a number of conferences on this subject in Europe and the US as well as presenting 2 day courses in Switzerland and Chicago.
In October 2015 he presented a one day workshop preceding the 82nd Light and Vision conference held in Santa Fe in New Mexico. This course showed experienced behavioural optometrists how to speed up their vision therapy programs by including syntonic optometry