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Success Stories, Processing Disorders

Sometimes the Second Time Around Is the Charm

Mind-Eye Brain Glasses First Made Her Tired; Then They Made ‘Magic’

When it comes to wearing “brain” glasses, sometimes the second time around is the charm. 

At least, that is what happened in Valerie Stewart’s case. The 34-year-old woman, struggling all her life with physical and developmental challenges, returned to the Mind-Eye Institute in Northbrook, Illinois after a more than 10-year hiatus. And this time, her therapeutic eyeglasses made magic.

“Magic based on advanced optometric science,” emphasizes Mind-Eye founder and research director Deborah Zelinsky OD.  “One patient called our eyeglasses ‘mathemagical.’”

“Instead of making her generally tired as they did the first time she went to Mind-Eye in 2007, the glasses actually increased her awareness and made her more alert. She became able to communicate, to express herself, to actually say what she wants to say,” relates her mother, Marie Williams, of San Diego, California. 

“Valerie had been a woman locked inside herself. She would never initiate a conversation, she could not cry, her responses were flat and without inflection. She was not in touch with her surrounding environment,” Marie says. 

“But the Mind-Eye glasses seemed to turn a switch on in her. She became conversant, happy, even independent. She and I now cook and laugh together, and Valerie has taken over kitchen chores and laundry. She is even learning to ride a bicycle for the first time. She would not have been able to do this without Mind-Eye.”

Marie even ascribes her daughter’s emerging kindness, humility, graciousness, and giving nature to the Mind-Eye brain glasses. “The glasses have brought out all these qualities in her. And she has become an incredible leader. I do not know what to think. I am so full of gratitude to the Mind-Eye Institute and Dr. Zelinsky.”

Of course, the ongoing success of the glasses is no surprise to Marie. Seeing what the glasses did for her daughter, Marie availed herself of Mind-Eye testing and Brainwear™ in July 2020, two months after Valerie’s appointment, to relieve her own symptoms – the result of four previous concussions and a stroke.

The Mind-Eye Institute is internationally known for its use of individualized, therapeutic eyeglasses and other advanced optometric tools to manipulate the amount, angle, and intensity of light passing through the retina. Such manipulation creates changes in the brain activity of patients suffering the symptoms of traumatic head injury, concussion, stroke, and neurological disorders. Retinal stimulation also has proven effective in building undeveloped visual processing skills in children – and adults – with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning, socialization, and behavioral difficulties.

That is because the retina is composed of brain tissue and is an important part of a person’s central nervous system, says Dr. Zelinsky.

“An individual mix of prescriptive lenses, sometimes with filters and prisms added, modifies the distribution of light on the retina. These modifications occur in both space and time, thereby altering the dynamic relationship between the mind’s retinal inputs and the body’s internal reactions and responses. The implication is that this retinal stimulation can promote changes in basic physical, physiological, and psychological systems involved in such circuitry as motor control, posture, emotion, and thinking,” Dr. Zelinsky says.

Born with a heart murmur and a high-arched palate, Valerie also was plagued by ear infections as a child. The infections slowed her development and affected her balance, coordination, expressive language capabilities, and thinking. She fell further behind her age group when local school districts misclassified her condition and placed her in classroom settings that failed to challenge her actual learning capabilities and support her forward progress. She later developed severe scoliosis (spinal curvature), spent two years in a back brace, and then, as a teenager, underwent corrective surgery. That was followed by craniofacial surgery at age 19. 

Marie had heard about the clinical successes of the Mind-Eye Institute in responding to the needs of children – and adults – with delayed learning and developmental skills. She made Valerie an appointment at the Institute a few years after moving to Chicago in 2003. “But that first pair of brain glasses just made her tired. She was sleeping all the time.”

Marie says her decision – in May 2020 -- to give Mind-Eye a second try came after Valerie identified with another Mind-Eye patient, a woman, “about Valerie’s age,” who had returned to college and obtained a degree after receiving brain glasses from the Institute. 

“At our return, Dr. Zelinsky and her team did intensive testing and determined Valerie’s eyes were not tracking properly. Her brain was not recognizing the input from her left eye. The lenses they prescribed stabilized Valerie’s brain,” Marie says.

Marie also believes the neurological alterations that the eyeglasses made in Valerie seemed to impact her metabolic, endocrine, and other physiological systems in positive ways. “Valerie’s need for special, high-priced nutritional food has declined significantly. With her sensory systems connected, she appears to have reduced her nutritional deficits,” Marie says.

She agrees with Dr. Zelinsky that children be required to undergo eye-ear integration testing before entering school so that they do not later develop learning difficulties and fall behind their peer group.  “Learning problems are oftentimes a result of visual performance and visual processing challenges due to a lack of coordination among a person’s sensory systems. Current testing usually assesses eyesight and hearing separately from one another, not as a team,” Dr. Zelinsky says.

Like eye-hand coordination, synchronization of sight and sound does not fully develop in a child until about age 7 or 8,  Oftentimes, learning expectations of children at earlier age levels surpass their developmental stage. Similarly, a child’s struggles to learn after age 8 can be symptomatic of under-developed eyesight-hearing linkage.

Years ago, reading was not heavily emphasized until the third grade, when children had a more solid eye-ear connection. Now, even preschoolers are being taught how to recognize sight words (visual development) and how to sound out words (auditory development). If a child has not linked the two systems, he or she will either be a poor speller or be unable to decode words easily, Dr. Zelinsky states.

Meanwhile, Valerie continues showing what Marie calls “constant progress.”

“Her critical thinking skills are getting better and better,” Marie says. “I am so thankful for what the Mind-Eye has done for both my daughter and me.”

Although both Valerie Stewart and her mother, Marie Williams, have undergone significant symptomatic relief, their experiences are not always the norm nor are they guaranteed for every patient. Check out the Mind-Eye Institute website at www.mindeye.com for additional information.