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Success Stories, Processing Disorders

Brain Glasses Help Relieve 15 Years of Migraine Headaches

Mind-Eye Institute Changes Way Megan ‘Sees,’ Responds to Her World

Megan Davenport was tired of “living life in pain.” She had struggled with chronic migraine headaches for 15 years — since age 9, seen a variety of health professionals, undergone Botox injections, and been on and off a host of different medications. But it was a family friend’s suggestion the source of the headaches might be Megan’s eyes that prompted a call to the Mind-Eye Institute and put Megan on a path to relief.

“The headaches had been getting worse since college,” says Megan, now in her mid-20s. “They were occurring almost every day and lasting anywhere from five hours to 72 hours. I could not keep going like this.”

After that first appointment at Mind-Eye in March 2020, “I learned from Dr. Zelinsky that an imbalance in one of my many visual systems was the likely culprit for my headaches. I was having problems with my peripheral eyesight – how aware I am of the world around me. I also discovered [after testing] that I had poor depth perception,” recalls Megan, who says she made the more-than-800-mile trip to the Mind-Eye’s clinic in Northbrook, Ill. from her home in the New Orleans area fully confident she could be helped.

The “Dr. Zelinsky” to whom Megan refers is Deborah Zelinsky, OD, founder and executive research director of the Mind-Eye Institute.

“I had been diagnosed as having a ‘lazy eye’ when I was a young girl, but no one then made the connection between any eye issues and the headaches I was experiencing,” Megan says

The majority of signals from the environment come via peripheral receptors in the retina, Dr. Zelinsky says. “Much of our peripheral eyesight is activated when we are scanning – subconsciously — for protection. Peripheral eyesight governs our judgment of the speed, size, location, and shape of objects and enables us to have the information needed to strategize and act. In combination with central eyesight, peripheral sight enables us to shift our gaze quickly and accurately – from teacher to classroom screen to notes, for example, or from car dashboard to street signs to traffic, and from tennis ball to net to opposing player.”

Often, peripheral eyesight fails to perform efficiently when it is overstimulated, depressed, or disrupted in some way. This inefficiency can skew a person’s responses to the surrounding environment, Dr. Zelinsky states.

“At the Mind-Eye Institute, we use advanced testing and optometric science to prescribe highly individualized, therapeutic brain glasses, colored filters, prisms, and other tools. Brain glasses are not intended to sharpen eyesight to 20/20, but rather to improve retinal processing, which is part of visual processing,” explains Dr. Zelinsky. “The lenses work by bending light in diverse ways across the retina, selectively changing the relationship of signaling by stimulating or avoiding various retinal sections.”

Why light?

“Light triggers electrical signals that propagate through neurons. In fact, retinal signaling routes information through multiple brain pathways, and can be influenced to create new pathways that are uncorrupted by injury or disease. Sometimes we use lenses to rebuild or circumvent damaged pathways, thereby enhancing visual skills of spatial awareness and perception,” Dr. Zelinsky says.

“My migraine headaches would make me nauseous and light-sensitive, affect my sleep, and cause me generally to become depressed. I was an athlete in college, playing beach volleyball, and would get frustrated because of the headaches. I just had to push through them so that I could continue competing in my sport,” Megan says. “After college, the headaches started reoccurring 10, 12, 15 times a month.”

Megan remembers she was not at all skeptical when she made her first appointment with Mind-Eye. “I had watched the testimonial videos on the Mind-Eye web site, thinking, if Mind-Eye [staff] can help those patients, they can likely help me, too.”

For Megan, who only wore eyeglasses briefly as a young girl, “it took a bit of time getting used to my first pair of Mind-Eye glasses.” But, by October 2021, she was on her fourth pair and estimating they had already taken her about 80 percent of the way to her ultimate goal – “no medications, no botox, and, of course, no headaches.”

“Today, I am no longer nauseous, can ride in a car without getting motion sickness, and am down to maybe only one migraine headache a month,” she says.

Her only other wish —“that more patients can get access to the kind of help the Mind-Eye Institute offers. To think, I might have been helped when I was much younger. Understanding the science [the Mind-Eye Institute practices] should become mandatory for anyone entering the fields of optometry or neurology.

“I am truly blessed to know Dr. Zelinsky. She has changed my life,” Megan adds.