Light therapy and mental health

Light therapy and mental health
Photo by Emma Simpson / Unsplash

Life can be stressful. Like all parts of the body, vision can be affected by
stress.

The eyes are an extension of the brain.  It is reasonable then that if your brain is unsettled or in fight or flight and stressed then vision can be affected.

How do we manage vision changes due to stress?

An option to consider is light therapy or syntonics.

Light to the eyes can help reset the brain.

The goal of light therapy is to reset the nervous system from fight or flight to the healing mode.  When we are stressed our body's defense mechanism moves in to fight or flight to help us.  When we are in that state, the processing of the messages from the eyes can be impacted and vision can be blurred.  There may be no concern of the picture from the eyes but the processing can be affected and then vision can be blurred.

Light can directly impacts our mood, our sleep, our ability to wake up and focus, our hormone levels, our immune system and our ability to cope with stress.

Optometrists should be considered the experts on light.  Using light therapy is not new but the ability to use light and measure the impact on the nervous system is a tool that behavioral optometrists can utilize.

What is involved with light therapy treatments?  5 to 10 mins 3X per week.  The time commitment and involvement of the patient is limited.  The impact of the light treatment is tremendous.

We can measure the state of the nervous system using a functional visual field or a special peripheral vision test.  Most patients who are in a state of fight or flight have a constricted visual field.  Depending on the specific colour of the visual field that is most constricted, the wavelength or colour of light used for light therapy can be determined.  Many patients experience change after 3 treatments and progress generally is measured after 10 sessions.  After treatments, the peripheral vision test can be repeated to determine the impact of the light therapy.

Light therapy and healing the brain

Since light therapy or syntonics helps reset the nervous system from fight or light to rest and digest or healing then it is very logical that light can be used to help heal a brain from concussion or traumatic brain injury.

Syntony means balance.  With light therapy balancing the nervous system is the goal.  When the nervous system is balanced, the result is many health benefits.

Who should consider light therapy?

  • Stressed?
  • Sleep deprived?
  • Emotional trauma? Anxiety?
  • Concussion?
  • Trouble focusssing?
  • Migraines?
  • Eye coordination problems or eye turns?
  • Attention deficit disorders? ADHD or ADD or Autistic