Hit on Head Stole His Life; Mind-Eye and a Book Got It Back
Jimmy Gruver Calls His Recovery from Concussion ‘Astounding’
A whack on the back of the head stole James (Jimmy) Gruver’s life, but a professor’s book and a pair of “brain” glasses from the Mind-Eye Institute in Northbrook, Ill. brought it back.
“I had dark days when I felt I would never feel like myself again,” says Jimmy, a Chicago resident who developed concussive symptoms – fogginess, fatigue, difficulty reading, dizziness — after a pole support bar for a boat canopy fell and struck him in the summer of 2017.
He became aware of symptoms about two weeks following the accident, and they persisted throughout his freshman year at a small liberal arts college in Maine and during a summer internship in 2018 – so much so, he put college on hold for at least a semester before starting his sophomore year last fall.
“At the time, I was unable to sit in front of a computer screen for more than 20 minutes before becoming extremely fatigued,” Jimmy relates. “I had to do all my [school] work in small increments to avoid fatigue and fogginess. I was unable to read textbooks or accomplish day-to-day tasks. Even the noisy atmosphere of the school dining hall left me fatigued.”
Equally as frustrating was Jimmy’s lack of energy and haziness while playing lacrosse at his college. “I would feel dizzy, especially after scrimmages,” he says.
Not only family members, but close friends noted the change in his attitude and personality due to the head injury, Jimmy recalls. “I was no longer the energetic and happy guy they always knew.”
The aftereffects of the concussion continued for more than a year when Jimmy’s father fortuitously discovered a book while doing an Internet search to find some resolution for his son’s brain issues. That book, The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back, published in 2015, details DePaul University academician Clark Elliott’s torturous journey back to health following a severe traumatic brain injury – a journey that included help from the Mind-Eye Institute team and the Institute’s therapeutic “brain” glasses.
“Dad read the book, and I listened to the audio version,” Jimmy says. The next step was to make an appointment at the Mind-Eye Institute – a step that would eventually restore normalcy to Jimmys life.
During his initial appointment, Jimmy underwent the patented Z-Bell Test® developed by Deborah Zelinsky, OD, founder of the Institute and the Institute’s research director. The test requires a patient to reach out, with eyes closed, and try touching a ringing bell. If the patient cannot do so, one of the Mind-Eye optometrists places different lenses and colored filters across the patient’s closed eyelids until the optimal combination allows the patient to find the bell immediately.
“At first, my Dad and I were a bit skeptical of the test, but I closed my eyes, reached out and missed the bell by three feet. I was nowhere in the vicinity of it. Even my Dad started to laugh.” Then Dr. Zelinsky started placing different types of lenses and filters across Jimmy’s still-closed eyes, “until I began hitting the bell – on the dot,” says Jimmy.
“The way light disperses across the retina can impact brain function,” says Dr. Zelinsky, an optometrist noted worldwide for her work in neuro-optometric rehabilitation “Changes in luminance on the eye affect how the brain interprets and reacts to information about the environment and can impact a person’s spatial awareness, body movement and selective attention to sound.”
The Z-Bell Test® is a simple, but revolutionary, method of checking a patient’s overall spatial awareness and the integration of visual processing with listening. The test has changed the lives of both pediatric and adult patients by allowing the Mind-Eye team to prescribe eyeglasses that normalize the balance between central and peripheral receptors in the retina, while improving the connection between eyes and ears.
“With the Z-Bell Test®, we can determine whether the environment is in sync or just plain confusing for a patient,” Dr. Zelinsky explains. “Using the proper mix of filters, lenses and/or prisms, we can readjust a patient’s visual balance and eye-ear integration.”
For Jimmy, that “readjustment” has resulted in what he calls an “amazing recovery,” a clearing away of his fog.
“Within two weeks after receiving my first pair of Mind-Eye glasses, I began noticing astounding changes,” Jimmy says. “I began to read again. I could sit on front of a computer screen and complete hours-long essays. I could study for my exams in five-hour increments” without fatigue. .
“Thanks to the Mind-Eye Institute, I am able to succeed inside and outside the classroom,” Jimmy says.
He adds that he already has recommended the Mind-Eye Institute to friends who have experienced concussions. “It’s an amazing place,” he 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.