Non-Invasive Assessment and Treatment of Autonomic Function Using Retinal Circuitry
by Deborah G Zelinsky, OD
Two patients with positional orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) had frequent symptoms of fainting spells due to autonomic dysregulation. Each was successfully treated by the use of individualized therapeutic eyeglasses.
ABSTRACT: Non-invasive assessment and treatment of autonomic function using retinal circuitry
INTRODUCTION: Cardiac stress tests are used as an informative method of gathering information regarding cardiovascular tolerance. An analogous test measuring retinal tolerance is beneficial in assessment and treatment of neurological function. An emerging subset of optometrists is prescribing customized eyeglasses to influence biochemical and neurological activity in physiological systems. Viewing the eye as a portal into brain activity, retinal circuitry is used as a conduit into the constant, dynamic interaction involving parallel cortical and subcortical processes. Neuro-optometry modifies direction, intensity, amount or wavelength of light to assess and treat tolerance to retinal changes.
METHODS: This atypical use of eyeglasses leads to more than simply altering central eyesight. Stimulation of three photoreceptor groups initiates a cascade of signaling in visual and non-visual retinal pathways, resulting in measureable shifts in attention and eye movements.
RESULTS: Two patients with positional orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) had frequent symptoms of fainting spells due to autonomic dysregulation. Each was successfully treated by the use of individualized therapeutic eyeglasses. One pair of lenses angled light, reflexively inducing a shift in head and body position; the other pair was tinted to filter the incoming wavelength of light, stimulating the autonomic nervous system. Both patients stopped fainting when wearing the lenses. One patient’s cardiologist no longer needed to install a pacemaker.
CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest the possibility that patients with POTS, who cannot be stabilized with medications, might wear eyeglasses designed to balance sympathetic and parasympathetic responses. A device to test retinal stress tolerance could provide a clinical indicator in assessment of brain activity.
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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.”
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– 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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