Brain Injury Rehabilitation: Cortical and Subcortical Interfacing via Retinal Pathways

by Deborah G Zelinsky, OD

Most patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have visual and nonvisual retinal signal processing problems with concomitant dysfunctional sensory systems integration.

Abstract: Most patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have visual and nonvisual retinal signal processing problems with concomitant dysfunctional sensory systems integration. These dysfunctions often include problems of spatial orientation, motor planning, and motor control. They are generally not visible on diffusion tensor imaging, diffusion spectrum magnetic resonance imaging, or functional magnetic resonance imaging and are not discernible by neuro-ophthalmological, standard optometric, or ophthalmological testing. In contrast, the neuro-optometrist, while examining the TBI patient’s conscious cortical processing, puts great emphasis on unconscious ambient processing to assess the patient’s ability to tolerate and adapt to environmental changes beneath conscious awareness. This often overlooked, yet potentially critical, information from both subcortical and cortical components of the visual system, sometimes combined with other sensory signals, is used to evaluate and treat patients with processing dysfunctions.

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‘Dr. Zelinsky Is Renowned'

~ Norman Doidge, M.D. & Clark Elliott, Ph.D., 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 Vendarbilt University found that children with autism do not synchronize their seeing and hearing…I have watched Dr. Zelinsky administer this test to disbelieving coleagues, 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.

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