‘Brain’ Glasses Open Her Eyes to World of ‘Perfect Papers’
13-Year-Old Hannah ‘New Person;’ Overcomes Learning, Physical Issues
Thanks to testing at the Mind-Eye Institute and a pair of therapeutic “brain” glasses, 13-year-old Hannah’s eyes have been opened to a brand-new world of easier reading, faster learning, “perfect school papers” and overall good grades.
So, says Hannah’s mother, who adds that the eyeglasses also have seemingly improved Hannah’s posture, made her less clumsy, enhanced her language capabilities and apparently played a role in her renewed physical vigor.
“Hers has been an amazing transformation,” says mom, who resides in one of the Chicago area’s north suburbs and operates her own business. “Hannah has gone from walking slouched over, eyes half-open – someone for whom we had to pull the family car up close, so she could open the door – to a girl planning a trip to Norway in the summer of 2020 and walking four miles a day to prepare for it.”
Not surprising, says Daniel Myers OD, Hannah’s optometrist at the Northbrook, Ill.-based Mind-Eye Institute where the team uses prescriptive eyeglasses, contact lenses and other optometric interventions – Brainwear™– to help patients develop and/or redevelop visual skills.
“With Brainwear™, optometrists are able to change the way light disperses across a patient’s retina, thereby affecting how the brain reacts to information about the environment and improving a person’s spatial awareness, body posture and selective attention to sound,” says Dr. Myers.
It was a trip to visit a cousin in Colorado that first suggested to Hannah she might have a learning disorder. Her cousin was struggling with dyslexia at the time, and Hannah, who was then in seventh grade, said, “Something like that may be my problem,” recalls her mother.
“Hannah never could read that well and had to work extra-hard to get good grades,” mom says. “Oftentimes, she took five hours to finish homework that wasn’t very difficult. She had absolutely no free time. She struggled to get through her assignments; was really anxious about them.”
Mom says Hannah would write school papers that were “conceptually great,” but the grammar always required fixing. “And, her language would sometimes get mixed up. Hannah might say, ‘I am going to the zoo’ when she meant the ‘park.’”
Hannah’s “self-awareness” was an issue, too, says her mother. “She would bump into people and, when with someone, would walk really close to that person.”
Mom feared her daughter might be right about having a learning disability. “I took Hannah to a psychologist. I was just hoping to give her the tools she needed to succeed.”
About that same time, one of Hannah’s mother’s business clients told her about the Mind-Eye Institute. Seems the client had taken a son there 15 years earlier – with successful results. Hannah’s mother made an appointment for Hannah at the Mind-Eye in the fall of 2019. There, Hannah underwent a series of tests, including the Z-Bell Test℠. a simple, but revolutionary method of checking a patient’s overall integration of “retinal processing” with awareness of auditory space — basically, how stable the eye-ear connection is.
The Mind-Eye Institute is recognized worldwide for its work in assessing “retinal processing.” The retina is made of brain tissue and sends signals to more than simply an eyesight center. Retinal signals combine (partially beneath a conscious level of awareness) with other sensory signals – from hearing, smell, taste and touch. Further brain processing synthesizes the information and reacts and responds depending on internal sensory signals.
Additionally, some retinal signals are not used at all for processing sensory signals. Some are routed to brain centers involved in sleep, others to brain circuitry to maintain posture; still others link with nuclei in the limbic system, which governs emotions.
“If brain circuitry is out of sync because it has been disrupted or under-developed, people can become confused about their surrounding environment and exhibit inappropriate reactions and responses. If eyes and ears are not in sync, people have to continually monitor their shifting attention, and it becomes exhausting,” explains Mind-Eye founder and executive research director Deborah Zelinsky OD.
During the Z-Bell Test℠, a patient reaches out, with eyes closed, and tries touching a ringing bell. If the patient cannot do so, a Mind-Eye optometrist places different lenses, prisms and filters across the patient’s closed eyelids until an optimal combination allows the patient to find the bell immediately without conscious effort. Light still passes through the eyelids and activates parts of the brain not used for eyesight. With eyes closed, patients are still having to visualize surrounding space in order to locate the bell.
“Initially, Hannah missed everything during the bell test,” mom says. “I was skeptical at first, but Dr. Myers found the right lenses and filters, enabling Hannah to touch the bell.”
When Hannah received the new “brain” glasses prescribed by Dr. Myers, the effects were “instantaneous,” says her mother. “What took Hannah four hours to do now requires only about a half-hour. She’s begun writing perfect papers; other kids in her class are asking her for homework help. And, she now has plenty of free time to connect with her girlfriends.
“Today, Hannah is feeling good about herself and is no longer anxious about assignments.”
Even better, the eyeglasses helped Hannah achieve a double-dose of relief because they arrived at the same time Hannah was recovering from nearly two years of physical struggles with POTS – postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. The condition causes a person’s blood pressure to vary with changes in body position. Symptoms include lightheadedness, extreme fatigue, feelings of anxiety and jitteriness, head and neck pain and insomnia.
“Experiencing learning issues on top of physical problems was a bit much for Hannah. She needed to feel good about something,” says Hannah’s mother.
She enrolled Hannah in a clinical study involving transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – more specifically, stimulation of the Vagus nerve, the longest of 12 cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the colon. The Vagus nerve helps stimulate muscles in the heart, thereby lowering the heart’s resting rate, and controls contractions in the digestive tract. The treatment has helped Hannah overcome her POTS symptoms.
“Between the TENS therapy and the Mind-Eye glasses, Hannah is a new person. She’s come a long way from where she was a couple years ago,” mom says.
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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.