Harvard Dean Says “Read It!”
Author Calls ‘Magic’ the Mind-Eye Glasses That Aided His Recovery
“Read it. First weep, then smile broadly.”
This is how Daniel Federmann, M.D., dean emeritus of the Harvard School of Medical Education, described a 2015 book in which is featured the work of Mind-Eye Institute founder and research director Deborah Zelinsky O.D.
The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back details DePaul University academician Clark Elliott’s torturous journey back to health following a severe traumatic brain injury.
“This wonderful story is inspiring,” wrote Dr. Federmann, who also was past president of the American College of Physicians.
“A [Ph.D.] professor of artificial intelligence loses much of his higher function after an auto accident. Numerous specialists diagnose a concussion and tell him to ‘get over it’ – no small assignment for a professor and single father. He is ultimately referred to an optometrist [with extensive experience in the field of neuro-optometry and neuro-optometric rehabilitation] who studies both the visual and non-visual roles of the retina for the brain,” Dr. Federmann said.
That “optometrist,” of course, is Dr. Zelinsky, who is internationally recognized and whose work at the Northbrook, Ill.-based Mind-Eye Institute has revolutionized scientific understanding of how the retina serves as a two-way portal into the mind and body.
“The way light disperses across the retina impacts brain function, the nervous system and body biochemistry,” said Dr. Zelinsky.
Using prescriptive eyeglasses, lenses or other optometric interventions to selectively stimulate light dispersed on the retina, Dr. Zelinsky helps patients redevelop visual skills during recovery from debilitating, life-altering symptoms of brain injuries. She also works to develop skills in patients with learning and behavioral problems.
Dr. Elliott, in his book, calls the mind-eye eyeglasses “magic,” saying they alter the way light disperses across the retina, ultimately affecting brain function by creating new signal pathways between the visual cortex and the retina. In cases of traumatic brain injury, these new pathways bypass damaged areas of brain tissue.
“Through exercises and progressive changes of glasses [as prescribed by Dr. Zelinsky], his (Dr. Elliott’s) visual and mental functions are restored and his professional and personal life regained,” Dr. Federmann concluded in his quote about the book.
“Changes in luminance on the eye affect how the brain interprets and reacts to information about the environment. Those changes can impact a person’s spatial awareness, movement, and selective attention to sound,” Dr. Zelinsky said.
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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. Read the articles below to learn more about what the Mind-Eye Institute is doing to pioneer change in how optometric evaluations are performed in the 21st Century.
'Dr. Zelinsky Is Renowned'
~ Norman Doidge, M.D. & Clark Elliott, Ph.D., Dr. Patrick Quaid and Patricia S. Lemer praise her accomplishments:
"Zelinsky fit Elliott with a series of eyeglasses designed to improve the perceptual damage that made his life so difficult... Getting fitted for Zelinsky's eyeglasses is like no eye appointment you've ever had... Now, Elliott says, he is almost entirely symptom-free, able to problem-solve, multi-task and find his way easily — all abilities he lost in the auto accident in 1999. When he put on his Phase VI glasses he felt something that he hadn't felt for years: "I felt normal."
Review: 'The Ghost in My Brain'
- The Chicago Tribune
"One brilliant Chicago-area optometrist I know, Deborah Zelinsky OD, FNORA, FCOVD, has developed a unique, patented, easy-to-administer evaluation called the Z-Bell Test. This test measures the efficiency of integration between visual processing and listening....A 2014 study at Vanderbilt University found that children with autism do not synchronize their seeing and hearing...I have watched Dr. Zelinsky administer this test to disbelieving colleagues, who were astounded by its accuracy and results...Over the past two decades, the Z-Bell Test has become internationally recognized by the scientific community.”
- Patricia S. Lemer, Licensed Profesional Counselor (LPC)
"I visited Dr. Zelinsky, and she showed me how she can use optical lenses to alter sensory filtering, by directing light to different retinal cells and brain circuits. This can influence activity in the brain and the hypothalamus to better regulate body chemistry, sensory integration, and even some auditory processing. [Dr. Zelinsky] works frequently with patients working with learning and cognitive disorders as well as TBIs."
- Norman Doidge, M.D.
"I was delighted to have Dr. Zelinsky personally contribute to the book. Her wealth of knowledge in the area of visual development and visual processing is widely known, not just through her contribution of eye-care to the author of “The Ghost in My Brain”, but also via her Mind-Eye Institute and the lectures and training their provide. Dr. Zelinsky is not just college and a friend, but also a valued member of the neuro-optometric community and an invaluable bridge to other allied professions treating brain injuries. Her contribution to the book is deeply appreciated."
- Dr. Patrick Quaid, MCOptom, FCOVD, PhD
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