‘Brain’ Glasses Enable Her to Make Sense of the World Again
Mind-Eye Institute is Helping Patient Get Back to Skiing and Playing Tennis
“I am excited about life again. Dr. [Carla] Adams is giving me back the part of my life I had lost. I struggled for years to make sense of the world, but not any longer.”
So, says Suzanne Winton of Newton, Massachusetts, who looks forward to someday skiing and playing tennis again and who refers to Carla Adams OD as “warm, personable, and efficient.” Dr. Adams is an optometrist at the world-renowned Mind-Eye Institute in Northbrook, Illinois.
“She has this way about her that makes a patient feel comfortable,” Suzanne states.
The Mind-Eye team has achieved international recognition for its use of therapeutic eyeglasses, lenses, prisms, and filters to vary the amount, intensity, and angle of light that passes through the retina. The retina is part of the central nervous system and a primary portal through which information enters the brain.
“By manipulating light with eyeglasses – ‘brain’ glasses, we are often able to reduce symptoms and restore comfort to patients who need to rebuild visual processing skills compromised by brain injury, head trauma, stroke, and other neurological disorders,” says Dr. Adams. The Institute’s unique, scientific-based testing protocols and advanced visual skill-building also help develop new processing capabilities in patients with dyslexia, attention disorders, and other learning deficiencies, she explains.
“During my first appointment at the Mind-Eye, Dr. Adams was intent on checking a variety of lenses and color filters to find the combination that would prove most beneficial for me. We did the Z-Bell Test™, in which I reached out a finger and, with my eyes shut, tried touching the tip of a pointer and a [ringing] bell. I was doing poorly on the test until Dr. Adams placed different lenses and color filters across my closed eyes. Suddenly, I am hitting the bell and the pointer – no problem. I looked at Dr. Adams, and she had this big smile on her face. She simply said, ‘Yes,’” Suzanne recalls.
Indeed, that “yes” is proving life-altering for Suzanne, who says she was totally unprepared for the changes that occurred – almost immediately — when she put on her newly prescribed Mind-Eye glasses for the first time. “I thought the glasses would require a period of adjustment, but, as soon as I put them on, it was as if someone hit a switch. My whole world suddenly opened up. My blinders were removed. I went from tunnel vision to a panoramic view of everything. My eyesight seemed boundless. Walking, reading, driving – all improved. I did not want to take the glasses off.”
“Brain injury, stroke, or neurological diseases like that which Suzanne developed because of a tick-borne infection can disrupt visual processing skills. Intact visual processing is essential to all aspects of quality life,” according to Deborah Zelinsky OD, founder and research director of the Mind-Eye Institute. “If central and peripheral eyesight fail to connect and interact properly or if eyesight and listening abilities are uncoordinated, then a patient’s ability to visualize is affected. People need the ability to visualize for many daily activities, including balance.”
The term “visual processing” refers to the brain’s almost-instantaneous ability – consciously and non-consciously – to take in external sensory signals (from eyesight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch), combine them with a person’s internal sensory signals (such as head position and muscle tension) and then synthesize – process — the information, allowing a person to react and respond normally to his or her environment.
“People can become confused about their surrounding environment, have limited perception and awareness, and experience difficulties in learning, attention, reading, decision-making, posture, and balance when brain circuitry and sensory system are not synchronized,” Dr. Adams adds. “We help reconnect a patient’s world using therapeutic eyeglasses.”
Suzanne’s troubles began 30 years ago when she sustained a tick bite. That bite led to Lyme disease, a bout of encephalitis, and a cascade of debilitating symptoms, including cognitive and memory issues, difficulties with word recall, joint pain, and a host of eyesight and balance problems. She even developed Bell’s palsy and an eye disorder called keratoconus, in which the cornea thins and bulges out, becoming conical in shape.
Although keratoconus is supposedly hereditary, “no one else in my family has it,” Suzanne states. “I later learned about two other people with Lyme disease who also experienced this same eye problem.”
Suzanne underwent four corneal transplant surgeries – three on one eye – to treat the disorder, but her eyesight never returned fully to normal. “At its best, it was 20/50.” Meanwhile, as the years passed, “other Lyme-related symptoms diminished but did not completely resolve.”
Then, in 2021, Suzanne inadvertently comes across a Mind-Eye video in which a head-injured patient from Hawaii is discussing the positive impact Mind-Eye has had on her life. “My jaw dropped. I watched the testimonial several times and then called Mind-Eye on the next business day to make an appointment.”
She later listened to online presentations given by Dr. Zelinsky and read Ghost in My Brain, a book published in 2015. In the book, DePaul University Chicago professor Clark Elliott PhD details his long road to recovery following a traumatic brain injury. He credits Dr. Zelinsky and cognitive restructuring specialist Donalee Markus PhD, president of Designs for Strong Minds in Highland Park, Ill. for his dramatic return to health.
Now in her mid-50s, Suzanne estimates she is about 60 percent back to where she wants to be in terms of quality life. And she has plenty incentive for achieving her goals. “I was always active. I want to return to skiing and playing tennis again,” she states.
“The ‘brain’ glasses have given me back my depth perception. [Before the glasses], I had a difficult time even walking outdoors in all the snow. My entire visual field would be white; I was unable to process specifics of my environment and determine where I was in space. Today, though, I no longer feel limited. Even friends have noticed a difference in me.
“Mind-Eye has been truly life-changing.”
Although Suzanne Winton is enjoying progressive symptom relief, her experience is not always the norm nor is it guaranteed for every patient. Check out the Mind-Eye Institute website at www.mindeye.com for additional information.
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