847.501.2020

Success Stories:

Face-Plant Results in Years of Severe Brain Injury Symptoms

Tennessee Woman Calls Mind-Eye ‘Out of Desperation;’ Grateful She Did

Ellen Rickard’s face broke her fall. 

That accident lead to nearly 10 years of traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms, including vertigo, double-vision, memory and decision-making deficiencies, and severe light and sound sensitivities that affected her balance and often forced her to remain at home.

But a book she learned about from TBI groups on the Internet offered her a new direction, and the staff at the Northbrook, Ill.-based Mind-Eye Institute gave her hope.

The book, Ghost in My Brain, details DePaul University Chicago professor Clark Elliott’s long road to recovery following his TBI and the credit he gives the professionals at the Mind-Eye Institute and Designs for Strong Minds in Highland Park, Ill. for his dramatic return to health.

“When I made the appointment with Mind-Eye in 2021, it was out of desperation. I was thinking Dr. Zelinsky would be the 20th in a long line of doctors whom I had been seeing for my problems,” says Ellen, who resides in Chattanooga, Tenn. But she quicky added she hoped Dr. Zelinsky also would be the last. “She is so kind; she helps people. During my first visit to Mind-Eye, she spent hours evaluating me to get to the core of my problem, even though her family was waiting outside to go to dinner with her. She would not give up. 

“I actually went out and later apologized to her family for keeping Dr. Zelinsky so long,” Ellen laughs.

The “Dr. Zelinsky” to whom Ellen refers is Deborah Zelinsky OD, founder and executive director of the Mind-Eye Institute’s research. She and her Mind-Eye team have achieved worldwide recognition for use of therapeutic eyeglasses, lenses, prisms, and filters to vary the amount, intensity, and angle of light that passes through the retina. The retina is part of the central nervous system and a primary portal through which information enters the brain.

“By manipulating light with eyeglasses – ‘brain’ glasses, we are often able to reduce symptoms and restore comfort to patients who need to rebuild visual processing skills compromised by brain injury, head trauma, stroke, and other neurological disorders,” says Dr. Zelinsky. “Our unique, scientific-based, patented, optometric testing; and advanced visual skill-building also help develop new processing capabilities in patients with dyslexia, attention disorders, and other learning deficiencies.”

Following extensive testing of Ellen, Dr. Zelinsky indicated her brain injury had disrupted normal synchronization between eyes and ears.

“Visual processing skills are essential to all aspects of quality life,” Dr. Zelinsky emphasizes. “If central and peripheral eyesight fail to connect and interact properly or if eyesight and listening abilities are uncoordinated, then a patient’s ability to visualize is affected.”

The term “visual processing” refers to the brain’s almost-instantaneous ability – consciously and non-consciously – to take in external sensory signals (from eyesight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch), combine them with a person’s internal sensory signals (such as head position and muscle tension) and then synthesize – process — the information, allowing a person to react and respond normally to his or her environment.

“People can become confused about their surrounding environment, have limited perception and awareness, and experience difficulties in learning, attention, reading, cognition, posture, and balance when brain circuitry is not synchronized,” Dr. Zelinsky says.

Ellen’s odyssey through the health care system began in 2011 after falling and hitting her face. The bruises and black eye were difficult enough, but, as they healed, Ellen started experiencing the effects of diffuse axonal injury (DAI) due to shearing injuries to her brain. DAI primarily affects the white matter of the brain (the part that carries the nerve signals) and can cause a cascade of neurological dysfunctions.

“My primary problem was the vertigo, but I also suffered from double-vision, problems making decisions, loss of short-term memory, and light and sound sensitivities. Noise would make me lose my balance. I also experienced involuntary movements,” says Ellen, who was in her early fifties when the accident occurred. At the time of the injury, she and her husband were starting up their own industrial equipment business, but her emerging symptoms severely limited her ability – and energy —  to help.

The health system “could not send me to enough physicians to diagnose and treat me. I was so medicated I was often confined to a wheelchair when I left the house and could not think properly. I knew simply taking another pill would not help. I needed to get off all of the medicine and determine how much of my brain was truly working.” Ellen turned to TBI groups on the Internet where she heard about Clark Elliott’s book in 2015, the year in which it was published. 

“The book was comforting. I knew then that I was not the only person on earth so affected by noise and dizziness. The author indicates how he would literally drop to the ground with vertigo and a lot of movement around him,” Ellen remembers. But she could not finish the book. “It was too overwhelming, and reading was difficult for me.”  The book sat for about five years before Ellen picked it up again and read more about Dr. Zelinsky and the Mind-Eye Institute. She then made her first Mind-Eye appointment.

“I was so fragile at the time that my Mind-Eye testing had to be conducted over a two-day period,” says Ellen, who made the long drive to Northbrook, Ill. from Tennessee with her husband. She says the evaluation “genuinely surprised me. I initially thought it would be more like a standard eye examination, but it was not that at all. The testing focused on my visual processing capabilities—how my brain was controlling my eye movement and visual attention.”

Dr. Zelinsky prescribed Ellen an individualized pair of therapeutic “brain” contact lenses with clear glasses and filters to be worn over them. “The effects of the lenses were not initially dramatic, but after several weeks of wear, my energy began to return. I started doing the ‘deep-dive’ cleaning that I had been wanting to do on my book shelves and in the laundry room but could not do previously because the tasks had seemed so overwhelming.”

Although Ellen still suffers symptoms of her brain injury, some of them – like her vertigo, eyesight and balance problems, and thinking and concentration difficulties — have diminished. But Ellen also is realistic. “Dr. Z says I will likely need another 18 months to gradually regain functions, as brain pathways need to break a 10-year habit and re-route.”

Ellen says “desperation” is what motivated her to contact the Mind-Eye Institute – and she is grateful that she did so. “Other doctors wanted to help me, but they just did not know how. Dr. Zelinsky, on the other hand, understands how the mind and sensory inputs work together. She simply will not give up until she identifies the problem.”

Of course, Ellen has some concluding advice: “Do not use your face to break a fall!

Although Ellen Rickard is enjoying progressive symptomatic relief, her experience is not always the norm nor is it  guaranteed for every patient. Check out the Mind-Eye Institute website at www.mindeye.com for additional information.

Take The 60 Second Mind•Eye Symptoms Assessment

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 and its mission to “Leave 20/20 in the 20th Century.” To learn more about what the Mind-Eye Institute is doing to pioneer these changes in optometric evaluations , click here:

Plenty ‘Fight’ Left in Me; Resiliency Gets Me ‘Back’ to Work

I fell and injured my back a couple months ago, and, as part of my journey to recovery, had to learn how to manipulate a walker. Maneuvering a walker in an out of bathrooms or down stairs may seem like a whole lot of physical work, and it is, but I...

Retina’s Reaction to Light Could Play Major Role In Diagnosing Presence of Early Development Challenges

Mind-Eye Research: Retina’s Reaction to Light Could Play Major Role In Diagnosing Presence of Early Development ChallengesCan a simple test of the eye’s retina be enough to diagnose the presence of neurodevelopmental conditions like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or...

‘Brain’ Glasses Enable Her to Make Sense of the World Again

Success Stories: ‘Brain’ Glasses Enable Her to Make Sense of the World Again  Mind-Eye Institute is Helping Patient Get Back to Skiing and Playing Tennis“I am excited about life again. Dr. [Carla] Adams is giving me back the part of my life I had lost. I struggled for...

The Digital Age Requires Making Time for the Development of New Skills

Mind-Eye Blog: MessagEase™? Why Not? Time to Learn New Ways of Doing   Taking the opportunity to learn something new can prove quite rewarding. That’s why I decided to spend time recently becoming acquainted with MessagEase™, an innovative, touch-screen keyboard...

Retinal Imaging Can Predict Changes in Blood Flow

Mind-Eye Research: Retinal Imaging Can Predict Changes in Blood Flow Mind-Eye Optometrist Says Changes in Retina Mirror Changes in BrainRecent study results suggest depression can cause imbalances in a person’s processing of the “internal mental world and external...

COVID Proving More Than a ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’

Mind-Eye Research:COVID Proving More Than a ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’Mind-Eye Institute Warns Virus Targets Retina, Which Is Portal to the Brain When it comes to ocular health, the COVID pandemic may be more than simply a “sight for sore eyes.” In fact, the latest...

She’s Skeptical, But Drives 350 Miles Anyway to Find Relief

Success Stories: She’s Skeptical, But Drives 350 Miles Anyway to Find Relief Now, JoAnn ‘Telling Everybody’ How Mind-Eye Glasses ‘Calmed My Brain’ JoAnn King was initially skeptical. The Mind-Eye Institute would probably prove just another dead end. Still, she drove...

Scientists Shed More Light on Retina as ‘Window to Brain’

Mind-Eye Research:Scientists Shed More Light on Retina as ‘Window to Brain’Studies Support Mind-Eye’s Use of Brain Glasses to Bring Patients Relief Let there be light?For years, the Northbrook, Illinois-based Mind-Eye Institute has been altering the way light is...

Her One Goal Was Simply to Shop in a Grocery Store Again

Success Stories:Her One Goal Was Simply to Shop in a Grocery Store AgainMind-Eye Glasses Bring Wilmington, Illinois Woman Relief – and Hope Carol Schneider of Wilmington, Illinois had only one goal: regain her ability to walk through a grocery store, buy what she...

New Dyslexia Tool Furthers Calls for Eye-Ear Testing

Mind-Eye Blog: New Dyslexia Tool Furthers Calls for Eye-Ear Testing Optometrist Says Proper Funding Could Help Reduce Cases of Dyslexia A new digital assessment tool supported by California for early identification of children prone to becoming dyslexic helps...

Clinic Business Hours:

Monday - Saturday

8:00 AM - 6:45 PM

 

Sunday - Closed

Contact Us:

Call

During Business Hours:

847.501.2020

EMail

info@mindeye.com

Northbrook Clinic Address

1414 Techny Rd,
Northbrook, IL 60062, USA

FAX

847.501.2021