Mind•Eye Media:

Challenge for Today’s Optometry: Moving from Eye Care to ‘Brain Care’ 

Standard Eye Testing No Match for iPhones and Ferraris

From covered wagons to Ferraris and Teslas, rotary phones to iPhones, typewriters to MacBook Airs, time has changed inventions to make them better. We should wonder why old-fashioned eye testing equipment remains old-fashioned eye-testing equipment after 150 years.

Society and science have advanced in the past 100-150 years as will be shown in Mind-Eye Institute’s booth at the Los Angeles convention center in March during the 17th Annual Congress of the Society for Brain Mapping. However, eyesight testing has not.   It still goes by 20/20 measurements of letters on a high-contrast, non-moving eye chart.

With the exception of some relatively minor instrument-design changes during the past decades, eyesight evaluation techniques have remained fairly stagnant since the 1860s. The general testing completely ignores peripheral retinal processing, which comprises an overwhelming percentage of a person’s visual awareness and is critical for awareness of movement and reaction time and, yes, survival in today’s society.

Having general awareness of where we are in our environment is highly dependent on peripheral eyesight. Unlike the landscapes of the 1800s when mountains, prairies and forests dominated one’s visual field, our modern, fast-paced society abounds in moving targets – from signs and lights whizzing past us in traffic to ever-changing GPS navigation screens and words rolling in and out of sight on scrolling web pages. We must use peripheral and central eyesight in tandem to scan and shift our gaze from place to place and to assess movement, shape, size, color, contour, and design of objects. Technology uses movement all the time – scrolling on a computer screen, using Smart boards and PowerPoint presentations at school, watching movies with special effects, driving with multiple lanes of traffic, etc.

Interaction of central and peripheral sight pathways in the brain is necessary for memory, planning, organization, decision-making and overall visualization and perception skills.

Peripheral eyesight works at both conscious and subconscious levels. Even when we are focused on something else, the corner of our eye remains “turned on” to be aware of movement or change and immediately assess speed and shape of an oncoming object. Instantaneously, our brains process the information, causing in us a cascade of emotions – such as fear or concern – and prompting us to react by running away (if a large, ferocious dog is moving toward us), pouncing on the moving object (if the house cat is escaping from our backyard) or instinctively stepping aside so that whatever is coming (like a slowly moving car) can pass by safely.

Experienced hunters, for example, must have sharply honed, conscious and subconscious peripheral retinas to catch movement in the brush or the woods within a wide field of vision. Persons who read quickly, with comprehension, have highly functioning peripheral retinas, which constantly scan sentences, paragraphs and the entire page, while their central eyesight locks onto the details of individual words.

Why is it that a person who is focused on a text message on a mobile phone while crossing a street will subconsciously step up onto a high curb to avoid tripping? Peripheral retinal processing, of course.

Why does an infant’s peripheral retina activate several months before its central eyesight develops? Because peripheral eyesight is what’s needed for awareness, reaction and survival. Mobiles placed on cribs within an infant’s reach are designed to develop peripheral retinal pathways in the brain. So why are eye-testing instruments designed to block off crucial peripheral eyesight?

Even those optometrists who conduct visual field tests to evaluate peripheral vision are only assessing a patient at a conscious level. The patient is told to look for a flashing light somewhere in his or her field of vision – nothing subconscious about it. That kind of testing is much like the eye check performed for a driver’s test. You look through a viewer and tell the tester where you see a light blinking – to your left or your right where your conscious awareness is placed.

Our peripheral eyesight is designed to be turned on at all times and to work in synchronization with central eyesight. Indeed, the retina is an extension of brain tissue and sends signals to more than simply the eyesight portion of the brain.  Retinal signals combine (partially beneath a conscious level of awareness) with other external sensory signals – from hearing, smell, taste and touch. Further brain processing synthesizes that information and causes us to respond depending on other internal sensory signals.

If brain circuitry is out of sync because it has been disrupted by injury or disease, or is under-developed, people can become confused about their surrounding environment, have a narrowed perception and awareness, and exhibit inappropriate reactions and responses or experience difficulties in learning. When central and peripheral eyesight do not interact appropriately and the sensory systems of eyes and ears are uncoordinated, people have to continuously monitor their attention, and such constant effort becomes exhausting.

The connection between mind and eye is unique to each person’s processing system and experiences. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is able to use this concept of mind-eye testing – versus simply eye testing – to prescribe therapeutic eyeglasses, filters, prisms or other optometric methods on a very individualized basis to stimulate the retina in ways that bring sensory systems into synchronization and alter a patient’s environment. By changing the way light disperses on the retina, optometrists can affect how the brain reacts to information about the environment and modify a person’s spatial awareness, body posture and selective attention to sound.

We have entered a new year – 2020. That means we are already about 20 percent into the 21st century. Our challenge as optometrists is to move from eye care to “brain care.” Join Mind-Eye Institute’s campaign to update eye testing to include subconscious peripheral awareness and eye-ear interactions! Let’s leave standard 20/20 eye acuity testing, which was developed 150 years ago, where it belongs – in the 20th century.

Deborah Zelinsky, O.D.
Founder, Executive Research Director
Mind-Eye Institute

Take The 60 Second Mind•Eye Brain Quiz

Mind-Eye Featured in the News Media

Newspapers and television stations throughout the country have been reporting on the work of the Mind-Eye Institute and its mission to “Leave 20/20 in the 20th Century.” To learn more about what the Mind-Eye Institute is doing to pioneer these changes in optometric evaluations , click here:

Who Is That Masked Man? Our Children Need to Know

Mind•Eye Media: Who Is That Masked Man? Our Children Need to Know   Important Visual Cues Lie Hidden Behind COVID-19 Facial MasksLet’s face it.  Masks may be protecting us from the COVID-19 virus, but they are covering much of our facial expressions, which play a key...

Mind-Eye Glasses Get Him Jogging to the Train Station

Success Stories: Mind-Eye Glasses Get Him Jogging to the Train Station Filters on Lenses Help Restore Sense of Balance; He’s Back to Teaching Clinton Wooderson felt so good after donning a pair of the Mind-Eye Institute’s “brain” glasses that he suggested something...

‘Brain’ Glasses Put Her Back on the Forest Hiking Trails

Success Stories: ‘Brain’ Glasses Put Her Back on the Forest Hiking Trails Wisconsin Resident Thanks Mind-Eye Team for Return to ‘My Sanctuary’ Her first pair of “brain” glasses put Ruth Christy back on the hiking trails of her Wisconsin woods.  “I was no longer...

Mind-Eye Helps Head-Injured Marine ‘Return to Person I Was’

Mind•Eye Media: Mind-Eye Helps Head-Injured Marine ‘Return to Person I Was’   He Goes to Appointment with ‘Few Expectations;’ Leaves ‘Mind-Boggled’“What Mind-Eye has done for me has transformed my life; it has [positively] changed my relationship with my wife, my...

Mind-Eye Institute Gives Her Hope of Becoming Seizure-Free

Success Stories: Mind-Eye Institute Gives Her Hope of Becoming Seizure-Free ‘Brain’ Lenses Also Lessen Monica’s Agitation Under Florescent Lights Monica is looking forward to being seizure-free for an entire year or two “so, hopefully, I can go off seizure medication...

Mind-Eye ‘Brain’ Glasses Give Army Veteran Relief, Hope

Mind•Eye Media: ‘Mind-Eye ‘Brain’ Glasses Give Army Veteran Relief, Hope   He Goes to Appointment with ‘Few Expectations;’ Leaves ‘Mind-Boggled’ Army veteran Richard Duzinskas of Chicago struggled for more than 10 years with symptoms of brain, nerve and blast injuries...

Navy Lieutenant Thankful to Mind-Eye Institute For Contribution to Book on PTSD

Mind•Eye Media: Navy Lieutenant Thankful to Mind-Eye InstituteFor Contribution to Book on PTSD Navy Veteran Courtenay Nold has declared Total War on PTSD. In fact, that’s the title of the book Courtenay plans publishing later this year as a way of helping other...

Utah Patient ‘Blown Away’ by What Eyeglasses Do for His Injured Brain

Success Stories: Utah Patient ‘Blown Away’ by What Eyeglasses Do for His Injured Brain Despite Earthquake and Virus, He Gets to Mind-Eye AppointmentGabe boasts, “The ‘brain’ glasses from the Mind-Eye Institute have seemingly resolved my headaches, renewed my joy in...

Rachael Barry Credits Mind-Eye ‘Brain’ Glasses for ‘Giving Me My Life Back’

Success Stories: Rachael Barry Credits Mind-Eye ‘Brain’ Glasses for ‘Giving Me My Life Back’ Dad’s Concern, Internet ‘Discovery’ Put Her on Path to Recovery She did not realize it, but her father had noticed her steady decline during a several-year period following a...

What We See on Zoom, Not Always What We ‘Visualize’

Mind•Eye Media: What We See on Zoom, Not Always What We ‘Visualize’  From The Desk of Dr Zelinsky Zoom never looked so good. That’s because the coronavirus pandemic has kept most of us under stay-at-home orders for weeks. So, we are fulfilling our desire for...

Clinic Business Hours:

Monday - Saturday

8:00 AM - 6:45 PM


Sunday - Closed

Contact Us:


During Business Hours:




Northbrook Clinic Address

1414 Techny Rd,
Northbrook, IL 60062, USA

St Charles Clinic Address

2435 Dean Suite C
St Charles, IL 60175, USA