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Natural Awakenings Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties

New Eyes on Light

Jun 30, 2024 10:00AM ● By Dr. Randy Schulman
by An on AdobeStock

by An on AdobeStock

The use of light for healing dates back to ancient Egyptian and Greek times when solariums treated the sick. Today, photobiomodulation (PBM) shows promise for various conditions like skin issues, depression, digestive problems, migraines, pain relief, PTSD, neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic brain injury. PBM can also benefit eye conditions such as amblyopia, dry eye disease, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Recent research shows that light has healing effects throughout the body and can significantly boost cellular energy output and metabolism. This acceleration of cellular activity aids in wound healing, increases circulation, reduces acute inflammation and alleviates both acute and chronic pain by restoring normal cellular function.

Optometrists have used light therapies for over 100 years in syntonic optometry, utilizing colored glasses and light exposure to treat eye fatigue, focusing issues, dry eye and macular degeneration. Light directly affects the retina and ipRGC cells, impacting brain areas responsible for circulation, immune response, mood and circadian rhythm. Patients often report clearer vision, less pain, increased happiness, better balance and improved sleep. 

More recently, there has been growing interest in myopia, or nearsightedness. Slowing the progression of myopia has become important with the rates of myopia expected to be as high as 50 percent of the world’s population by 2030. Even low levels of myopia increase the risk for glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment, so finding ways to reduce or slow the progression is critical. 

Some preliminary studies show that specific wavelengths of light can slow the development of nearsightedness. Myopia and other vision issues can be due to inadequate eye movements, poor focusing, unstable eye teaming, and peripheral vision and processing difficulties. In addition to light therapy, good visual hygiene and a healthy lifestyle, bifocal glasses, multifocal contact lenses and vision therapy have been shown to reduce the increase in nearsightedness and treat the underlying conditions. 

Targeted approaches in treating many of the conditions mentioned using light is the wave of the future. In the meantime, the sun remains the most powerful light source for healing. Despite past advice to avoid excessive sunlight, new research highlights its importance for numerous biochemical interactions and overall health. Early morning sun exposure is particularly beneficial. To maintain healthy eyes, seek natural sunlight throughout the day, use full-spectrum lighting, limit evening screen use and consider blue-blocking glasses or filters.

Additionally, a healthy diet, adequate hydration and regular exercise are also crucial for maintaining healthy eyes. Visual hygiene, including taking frequent breaks from close work and focusing on distant objects, is also essential after prolonged near work.

For individuals concerned about their eye health or seeking ways to address current vision conditions, consulting with an eye doctor is recommended for personalized guidance and care.

Dr. Randy Schulman, MS, OD, FCOVD, FCSO, specializes in behavioral optometry, vision therapy, pediatrics, learning disabilities, and preventative, integrative and alternative vision care for all ages. For appointments, contact the offices in Trumbull, CT (203-374-2020), Stamford, CT (203-357-0204), Southport, CT (203-255-4005), Norwalk, CT (203-840-1991), Mahopac, NY (845-628-3750) and Mt. Kisco, NY (914-241-2020). For more information, visit See ad, this page.