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Success Stories, Media, Traumatic Brain Injury

Eyeglasses Give Brain Injury Patient Unexpected ‘Gift’

She Says Mind-Eye Has Transformed Her, Enabled Her to Accept Faculty Role

A single pair of Mind-Eye glasses have not only relieved the symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that plagued Chicago resident and artist Mary Apikos for more than seven years, “the glasses have given me an unexpected gift – a sense of depth perception and visual perspective I never had before, even prior to my accident.” And, today, she is using this “gift” to draw human figures in exacting detail.

“During my struggles, my drawings were large and created with dark black pencil. Details were approximate, with a lot of blurriness. But, after receiving my Mind-Eye glasses, my drawings have become more nuanced and show details. I am now ‘seeing’ how all the parts fit together.”

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“Mind-Eye Glasses have made me a whole new person.” -TBI Patient, Mary Apikos

Indeed, Mary says the therapeutic glasses – Mind-Eye Brainwear™ -- prescribed by Deborah Zelinsky OD, founder of the Mind-Eye Institute and the Institute’s executive director for research, have transformed her into a brand-new person. “The glasses have changed my art, relieved my constant headache pain, eliminated the severe vertigo that hospitalized me on two occasions, restored my balance so that I can walk again, enabled me to read again. I can go out and do things again, travel without fear, and no longer wear sound-canceling headphones. In fact, I listen to music now while I draw.”

She even has been accepted as a member of the faculty of the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, Inc. “That is not something I would have been able to do without these glasses,” Mary says.

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About Mind-Eye 'Brainwear™'

The Mind-Eye Institute, which is based in Northbrook, Illinois, calls them “brain glasses” or Mind-Eye Brainwear™ because of their significant therapeutic properties.

“Using the proper mix of filters, lenses and/or prisms, we can readjust a patient’s visual balance and eye-ear integration,” says Dr. Zelinsky

That’s because filters, lenses and prisms in glasses alter the way in which light disperses across the retina, she explains. Changes in luminance on the eye affect how the brain interprets and reacts to information about the environment and can impact a person’s spatial awareness, body movement and selective attention to sound.”

With Mind-Eye Brainwear™, Mind-Eye optometrists are often able to maximize patients’ visual performance, improve their perception of their world, and mitigate symptoms of brain injury, concussion, stroke, auditory/visual imbalances, retinal processing dysfunction, and other neurological disorders.

Retina Plays Critical Role in Central Nervous System

“The retina is composed of brain tissue and plays a crucial role as part of the central nervous system. It acts as a primary portal for information to the brain,” says Dr. Zelinsky, who is world-renowned for her work in retinal processing. 

Environmental signals (in the form of light) enter the retina and convert to electrical signals, which propagate through neurons and interact with key brain structures. These retinal signals affect not only the visual cortex but other, significant regions of the brain as well, linking with structures like the midbrain, thalamus, hypothalamus, and brainstem.

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Optical interventions, such as eyeglass lenses, can selectively stimulate retinal activity, thereby influencing retinal processing and brain function and re-integrating a person’s sensory inputs, especially eyes and ears.” -Deborah Zelinsky, OD

“Optical interventions, such as eyeglass lenses, can selectively stimulate retinal activity, thereby influencing retinal processing and brain function and re-integrating a person’s sensory inputs, especially eyes and ears,” Dr. Zelinsky says.

The Mind-Eye Institute has long been studying the retina’s role in integrating various sensory maps, including coordinating the perception of visual and auditory space to achieve proper spatial awareness. This synchronization of perceived auditory and visual space with proprioceptors – mechanosensory neurons found in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints – optimizes a person’s performance.

Mary's Story

Mary was working as a special education teacher in the South Bronx of New York City, when her life-altering fall occurred. The fall broke bones and caused a TBI. She developed vestibular migraines and balance issues. She twice experienced “spontaneous” vertigo so serious that the problem required her hospitalization and, at one point, temporarily caused a loss of sight in one eye.

“I could not stand or walk at the time. I had no sense of my body in space,” Mary recalls. The first vertigo attack forced her out of work for two months.

As dramatic as the vertigo instances were, they did not overshadow all the ongoing symptoms Mary was experiencing as a result of her head injury.

“I was afraid to leave my apartment in New York City. I was unsteady and feared getting more vertigo attacks. When I walked, I veered to my left. I felt embarrassed to go outside, believing people would think I was drunk. Prior to my accident, I had sometimes commuted to work on my bicycle but, after the accident, I could no longer ride because of my limited balance. I had difficulties reading, writing, and looking at a computer monitor.” 

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These difficulties were especially upsetting because Mary was in the middle of writing a book on fairytales as world folklore at the time of her accident. The book was based on lectures she had given at the Parsons School of Design in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. “Before my fall, I could complete the research and write a good working draft of a book chapter in four or five months. Afterwards, I was taking a year and a half to do the same amount of work,” she says. “The only way I kept going on the book was by using a manual typewriter.”

Meanwhile, noise and movement around Mary resulted in sensory overload, forcing her to stop attending the ceramics studio that she enjoyed.

“I no longer knew who I was. I had lost so much sense of myself,” Mary says.

The Mind-Eye Experience

A colleague of Mary told her about a book she had learned about – The Ghost in My Brain, written by DePaul University professor Clark Elliott, Ph.D. In the book, Dr. Elliott details his eight years of struggles following a head injury in a car crash and describes how he found relief through Donalee Markus PhD, of Designs for Strong Minds in Highland Park, Illinois, and Dr. Zelinsky of the Mind-Eye Institute.

“I obtained an audio copy of the book because I could not read it and kept thinking ‘I am this guy (author),’” Mary says. She made a mental note of the Mind-Eye Institute and, after retiring from her New York job as a teacher and later moving to Chicago in December 2022, she contacted the Institute and received a quick appointment.

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“This guy is me. This guy knows what it's like to lose the things that were the glue that held your life together...” -Mary Apikos (in reference to Clark Elliott in "The Ghost in My Brain")

“I now know why people come to the Mind-Eye Institute from all over the world. I underwent meticulous, detailed testing unlike I have ever experienced. I do not think I have received such care in my life. Then, Dr. Zelinsky comes into my examination room, and I am thinking, ‘Oh, wow, I am in the presence of a rock star,’” Mary says. 

After further testing, “Dr. Zelinsky told me, ‘I know what the problem is. You cannot walk and think at the same time. Every time you move, your brain is trying to realign itself with your body.’ 

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“If brain circuitry is out of sync, patients can become confused about their surrounding environment.” -Deborah Zelinsky, OD

“If brain circuitry is out of sync because it has been disrupted by trauma or disease or is underdeveloped, people can become confused about their surrounding environment and exhibit inappropriate reactions and responses. If eyes and ears are not integrated, people have to continuously shift attention, and that effort becomes exhausting,” Dr. Zelinsky explains. 

Eye-ear integration is the concept underlying our clinical work and experience at the Mind-Eye Institute. How a patient visually perceives sound location has to match with where the patient perceives visual target locations,” Dr. Zelinsky states.

Mary received her prescribed Mind-Eye glasses shortly after her first appointment in the spring of 2023. “After only about two weeks of wearing them, I no longer had headaches, dizziness, or vertigo. I was walking straight again – no veering.” And her abilities to read and write normally had returned.

“I have regained my confidence. I am now attending a fitness boot camp – step up, step down. I cannot believe it. I am able to do these exercises without feeling dizzy or having balance problems.” Also, Mary is readying some of her artworks for exhibit in other areas of the country.


Mary calls her Mind-Eye glasses “life-changing. I can move normally again, be active, travel. Mind-Eye has opened up a whole new chapter in my life – one that is full of possibilities, including a faculty position at a major institution. And now I have been given this added gift of an incredible depth perception that helps me see how all the parts fit together in amazing detail."

Although the Mary reports progressive symptom relief, her experience is not always the norm, nor is it guaranteed for every patient. Check out the Mind-Eye Institute at for additional information.