What Is Syntonics?

SyntonicsSyntonics, also known as optometric phototherapy, is a non-invasive form of light therapy that can be used on its own or as a starting point for vision therapy.

On its own, syntonics can be used to relieve headaches, especially those connected to occular pain and brain injury, as well as photosensitivity.

When it is used in conjunction with traditional vision therapy, it can increase the efficiency and speed of the effects of vision therapy.

In conjunction with vision therapy, syntonics can help reverse visual dysfunctions such as:

  • Strabismus (eye turn)
  • “Lazy” eyes
  • Convergence issues
  • Divergence issues
  • Focusing issues

These symptoms are typically seen in children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sensory Processing Disorder

Syntonics can also help those with:

  • Emotional issues
  • Behavioral issues
  • Lyme disease
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Other neurological diseases and disorders

How Does Syntonics Work?

During a child’s initial visit to a syntonics practitioner, usually a developmental or behavioral optometrist, the practitioner will assess the child’s pupillary release, which is how fast the eye’s pupil returns to normal after having a pen light shone into it.

A pupil that doesn’t constrict for at seconds is a sign of a nervous system imbalance or a reduced visual field.

The practitioner will prescribe certain colors of light based on the child’s symptoms and test results.

During a session, a child sits in a darkened room and stares at a device that emits two different frequencies of light for about 10 minutes.

Afterwards, the child gives feedback about what colors he or she sees upon closing the eyes.

Sessions can be done at the practitioner’s office or at home with a home-use device, and the number of sessions depends on the severity of the condition.

What to Expect

Syntonics allows the visual field to broaden, which increases peripheral vision as well as improve visual processing.

In addition, syntonics can bring balance to the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous systems.

Because of these effects, you may see improvements in your child, such as:

  • Improved behavior
  • Less irritability and/or anger
  • Less anxiety
  • Less aggression
  • Better focus and concentration
  • Improved school performance

Still Looking for Answers?

Visit the Epidemic Answers Provider Directory to find a practitioner near you.

Related Pages

Autism and Vision

Choosing a Developmental Optometrist

Learning-Related Vision Problems

Lenses and Prisms

Parents Active For Vision Education: Visual Skills for Autism and Other Developmental Delays

Prioritizing Interventions for Autism, PDD-NOS, SPD and ADHD

Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy for Autism, ADHD, SPD and Learning Disabilities

Vision Therapy for Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Vision Therapy from a Developmental Optometrist


Gottleib, Ray and Wallace, Larry. Syntonic Phototherapy. Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 12, 2001, No. 2, p.31-38.