Syntonic Light Therapy in the Treatment of Glaucoma at the ILA
Presented at the International Light Association Meeting held in Amsterdam
September 22, 2010
According to the National Eye Institute, glaucoma is the third leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
Cataracts and macular degeneration rank first and second, respectively. There are an estimated 2,218,000 patients who suffer from glaucoma (approx 1 in 136 or 0.74%).
I am seeing a lot more patients with this disorder because of all the side effects of traditional treatment. Eye drops can be very toxic and irritating to the eye. They might lower the pressure but they don’t treat the underlying problem.
Glaucoma is a complex disease often difficult to diagnose in the early stages:
• “When the definition of glaucoma was ‘a condition in which the intraocular pressure (IOP) is above 21 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury, units in which pressure is measured),’ the diagnosis of glaucoma was easy. One simply measured the pressure and that determined whether or not glaucoma was present. But that method of defining glaucoma was wrong. It was seriously wrong! Ninety percent of the people diagnosed with glaucoma by that method didn’t have ocular damage related to intraocular pressure, and one-third of those who had pressure-related damage were excluded because their intraocular pressure was below the magic number of 21 mm Hg.” By George L. Spaeth.
Currently, there are 3 Keys that allow for a more accurate diagnosis of glaucoma:
• An elevation of intraocular pressure
• Changes in the optic nerve
• Peripheral field loss
Most eye specialists consider changes in the optic nerve to be the hallmark of the earliest signs of glaucoma. These changes consist of loss of the nerve fiber layer and increase in size of the physiological cup of the optic nerve. The measurement of intraocular pressure alone is unreliable, in most cases, in making the diagnosis of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve consisting of ischemic changes in the nerve with resulting loss of optic nerve fiber and loss of peripheral vision.
Medical and surgical treatments consist of methods to lower the intraocular pressure. Lowering the intraocular pressure results in an increase in perfusion of the optic nerve based on basic concepts of hemodynamic flow of blood. A lower pressure permits a greater blood flow to the nerve and an elevated pressure lowers the optic nerve profusion. Most medications affect the ciliary body and decrease the aqueous production.
Comprehensive and effective treatment in glaucoma should be three fold. Efforts should be made to improve the circulation of the optic nerve and also to produce a neuro-protective effect of the optic nerve. Treatment should also include methods of reducing intraocular pressure without adverse affect on the aqueous production. One theory of accomplishing the above is to balance the autonomic nervous system.
Current medical treatment of glaucoma is un-physiological! Current glaucoma medications block aqueous production. It is much like the analogy of a patient with hypertension taking medications to decrease the production of blood to reduce the blood pressure! Aqueous production and circulation in the eye has an important physiological function and decreasing its production might have an adverse on the functioning of the eye. It goes against homeopathic (true laws) of healing.
I became interested in using light to treat glaucoma after Dr Don Barneskie, who is the current president of the College of Syntonics, gave me 2 articles from the American Journal of Ophthalmology which studied the effects of light on the intraocular pressure.
The first article I studied was Intraocular Pressure of Normal and Glaucomatous Eyes as Affected by Accessory Light Stimuli, by R. B. Zaretskaya, MD, published in American Journal of Ophthalmology 1948 – 31-721-727.
The first part of this experiment was with white light. 35 patients, 14 normal eyes and 21 glaucomatous eyes where first adapted to dark light for one hour. The left eye was illuminated with white light from a 75 watt frosted bulb (16 foot candles) for 30 minutes (the right eye was covered) Tensions in the right eye were measured every 5 minutes and for 20 minutes after the 30 minute application of light.
Reduction of the intraocular pressure with light was measured with different intensity to see if the pressure lower affect was intensity dependent. Average intraocular pressure lowering, depending on the brightness of light, is as follows:
• 16 foot candles (712 Lux) 9 mm Hg
• 3.3 foot candles (35.5 Lux) 5mm Hg
• 0.28 foot candles (3 Lux) 2.7mm Hg
• 1 foot candle = 10.76 Lux
The experiment was repeated by using Homatropine. This medication dilates the pupil. The author wanted to study the effect of pupil reaction to light. Is the pupillary reaction to light or pupil size responsible for the drop in pressure or is it just the affect of light? (Homatropine paralyses the pupil into a fully dilated position)
The results of this initial study were as follows:
• Pupil size does not have an effect on changes in intraocular pressure with application of light
• Light has vasomotor reaction through the effects through the pituitary body and vegetative centers (autonomic nervous system control centers)
•There is an increase in intraocular pressures in the dark and a decrease in pressures in light
The second part of the study was to study the experiments of S. V. Kravkov who stated that red and green light affect the vegetative system similarly as adrenalin and pilocarpine.
The second part of this study looked at 17 normal eyes and 25 glaucomatous eyes. The eyes were illuminated with a 150 watt light bulb using either a green filter – 433-586 nm or a red filter 578- 720nm. The eyes were treated 30 minutes with red one day and then 30 minutes with green the following day.
The results of this study indicated that red light has a pressure raising effect and green light has a pressure lowering effect. All eyes showed a pressure lower effect after green light; the hypotonic effect with glaucomatous eyes was much stronger. The hypotonic of effects of green light are greater than white light even at a higher brightness.
Conclusion of this study was that lowering of intraocular pressure by vegetative reactions due to accessory stimuli is less in normal eyes than glaucomatous eyes. Fluctuations in IOP by darkness and light are greater in glaucomatous eyes. The pupillary reflex has no affect on intraocular pressure. The reduction in IOP is dependent on the brightness of the stimulus. There is an opposite effect on IOP brought about by red and green light.
Glaucomatous eyes do not show the usual increase in IOP in response to red stimuli (red light might become a diagnostic tool) Green light should be considered a therapy for the reduction of IOP in glaucoma.
The second article was Some Experiments with Green Spectacles Prescribed to Glaucomatous Patients, by R. B. Zaretskaya, MD, which was published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology 1948 31: 985-989.
19 patients were studied and pressures were determined 3 times a day. Once at 7:00 AM (still in bed), 1:00 PM and then between 7:00 and 8:00 PM. Medications were withheld for a day or two and then green spectacles were given on the second day for full time wear. The spectacles were a hue corresponding to 511 nm and a daylight transparency of 21%. In a certain number of cases, the green spectacles were combined with a greatly reduced strength of pilocarpine. One group had a combination of green glasses and adrenalin (1:1,000) which was also made to test Kravkov’s statement that the installation of adrenalin might increase the eyes sensitivity to green.
Results of this study showed that IOP showed a pronounced tendency to decrease in patients wearing green spectacles. The fluctuation of IOP during the day was also found to decrease in patients wearing green glasses. There was an appreciable effect when the use of green spectacles was combined with very small dosages of pilocarpine (0.5 percent). 20 out of 25 eyes had an expressed decrease in IOP as well as a decrease in fluctuations. The pressures decreased by 6.0 mm Hg in 8 cases, 10 mm Hg in 9 cases and 10 mm Hg and more in 3 cases. The results were more striking when combined with small dosages of adrenalin.
• Green spectacles prescribed with a total withdrawal from Pilocarpine produces a decrease in IOP
• The affects are most pronounced when used with the administration of small doses of adrenalin
• Mechanism of action is proposed to be on the color receptors of the human eye
• Green light brings about a definite arrangement in the autonomic nervous system and thus affects the neurovascular system of the eye
A study was conducted over the last year to look at the effects of green light on the intraocular pressure in a series of glaucoma patients. These patients were recruited from my practice and from readers of the Healing the Eye Newsletters. Patients involved in the study were instructed to continue all glaucoma medications and were required to be in the office all day after a 10 minute exposure of green light.
Method of Study
There were 11 patients in the study. The Average age 72.6. Range was between 55-84 years of age. There was only one patient not using any glaucoma medications, 7 patients were using at least one medication and 3 patients with one or more medications.
Before application of light, the intraocular pressure was measured using a Goldman tonometer.
10 minutes of light treatment with Syntonic Light of mu delta at an intensity of 1.4 lux was administered
Pressures were then measured at 30 minutes and then every hour until pressures returned to baseline.
• Average pre-light pressures 19.8 (15-34)
• 30 minutes 15.5 (10-20)
• 1 hour 13.8 (8-19)
• 2 hours 16.1 (8-21)
• 3 hours 15.2 (8-23)
• 4 hours 14.9 (7-23)
• 5 hours (only 3 patients) 13.7 (8-18)
Green light (mu delta) has a pressure lower affect in the majority of patients 9/11 patients or 82%
The average pressure lower affect was 5 mm Hg and this effect persisted for 4 hours after a brief 10 minute exposure. These results confirmed the study reported by Zaretskaya in the American Journal of Ophthalmology in 1948. Green light should be considered a safe alternative in the treatment of glaucoma. More research needs to done regarding varying the intensity and duration of the light to see if there is an additional effect.