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Changes in Retinal Signaling Can Restore Comfort, Balance

Mind-Eye Applies ‘Connectomics’ to Speed Patients’ Journey to Health

“Connectomics.”

Sounds foreign, but it is a scientific discipline that the Mind-Eye Institute continues to apply daily to patients in their journey to health.

In fact, Mind-Eye founder and research director, Deborah Zelinsky, O.D., presented her work on retinal stimulation and its effect on deep-brain circuitry at the first international congress on connectomics in France in 2012. That was before the term, “connectomics,” became a “buzz word,” Dr. Zelinsky says.

Connectomics refers to the study and comprehensive mapping of pathways in the brain and connections between brain and eye. Dr. Zelinsky calls the retina “an overlooked part of the central nervous system” and says “modification of retinal inputs simultaneously affects body posture and biochemistry, as well as one’s spatial awareness and perception of environment.

“Careful modulation of retinal signaling using specialized, therapeutic eyeglasses can affect biochemical pathways in the brain and prove useful in assessing and addressing symptoms related to neurodegenerative disorders, learning problems, traumatic brain injuries, stroke and PTSD,” Dr. Zelinsky indicates.

She told participants during the connectomics congress in France that “retinal metabolism is a continuous process, with or without light stimulation, in awake or sleep states. Alteration of this process impacts brain circuitry.

“Each eye has approximately 126 million retinal photoreceptors funneling information in very predictable patterns and establishing a point-to-point map of neuronal connectivity to various brain structures,” she explains.

At the Mind-Eye Institute, “our team of professionals is enhancing brain function using therapeutic eyeglasses as the vehicle. With the proper mix of filters, lenses and/or prisms, we can prescribe eyeglasses – ‘brain’ glasses — that readjust a patient’s visual processing and eye-ear integration. Changing luminance on the eye affects how the brain interprets and reacts to information about the environment and impacts a person’s overall sense of balance and comfort,” Dr. Zelinsky explains.

For some three decades, Mind-Eye has been helping patients with learning challenges to develop new skills and those with damaged brain tissue due to injury or disease to often redevelop skills that they have lost.

“Research suggests that external retinal stimulation is a mean to alter chemical metabolism and that relationships exist between the retina, a person’s brain wiring and chemical gradients in various neurodegenerative conditions,” says Dr. Zelinsky. Her studies of retinal stimulation have been described in publications and courses worldwide.

“The mantra at the Mind-Eye Institute is to leave 20/20 testing in the 20th Century. We are always looking at the bigger picture, determining how a patient’s mind and body are able to adapt to environmental changes and prescribing eyeglasses with comfort as the optimum goal, rather than simply achieving 20/20 clarity. Patients would rather have 20/25 eyesight and no headaches or sensory confusion than 20/20 eyesight and multiple symptoms,” Dr. Zelinsky concludes.

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