Rachael Barry Credits Mind-Eye ‘Brain’ Glasses for ‘Giving Me My Life Back’
Dad’s Concern, Internet ‘Discovery’ Put Her on Path to Recovery
She did not realize it, but her father had noticed her steady decline during a several-year period following a series of concussions in school. “You are not the same person,” she recalls him telling her. His growing concern took him to the Internet and then to what Rachael Barry calls a “discovery” that put her on a road to recovery.
The “discovery” was a video of DePaul University Chicago professor Clark Elliott PhD, an expert in artificial intelligence, as he describes his 2015 book The Ghost in My Brain. In there, he details his near-miraculous recovery – within a matter of weeks — from symptoms of a devastating traumatic brain injury after he underwent care at Designs for Strong Minds in Highland Park, Ill. and the Mind-Eye Institute in Northbrook, Ill.
“My father immediately ordered the book, read it and had me go to the Mind-Eye website to take the patient test. Results showed my symptoms were ‘severe,’” says Rachael, who was suffering bouts of headaches, dizziness, and light and sound sensitivity; severe anxiety and emotional problems, including anger outbursts; and difficulties in reading, attention, communication and time-organization. The symptoms stemmed from head injuries she had incurred primarily while playing ice hockey on high school and college teams.
“In college, I sometimes felt as if I were having out-of-body experiences – like watching myself walk across the campus,” she says.
Literally two hours after submitting the online Mind-Eye test, Rachael received a phone call from an Institute representative who scheduled her for her first appointment on the very next day. She and her father immediately booked a flight from their Walpole, Massachusetts home to Chicago.
That was in January of this year (2020). Two months later, during a follow-up appointment, Rachael entered the Mind-Eye clinic with what staff there call “the biggest smile ever.”
“I am doing so well today; it is simply incredible – miraculous. I thought I was hopeless. Now, I have hope,” she says, crediting the therapeutic eyeglasses prescribed her by the Mind-Eye Institute for her turnaround.
“I had not realized that I had been on such a downward spiral. I kept thinking like an athlete – just push through it,” Rachael says. She also thinks prescribed medications were masking symptoms. “Medical doctors told me I probably had depression and gave me medications for that, but the drugs did not help – and caused side effects. On some days, I felt like I was on top of the world; then, I would experience deep, deep ‘lows,’” Rachael recalls.
“Rachael’s symptoms were partially coming from her peripheral eyesight turning on and off with varying intensities,” says Deborah Zelinsky, OD, founder and executive research director of the Mind-Eye Institute. “The peripheral systems in her two eyes were not synchronized; that was causing her internal havoc because her brain had to constantly figure out which peripheral eyesight system – right or left – to pay attention to.”
Driving a car was a particularly miserable experience for Rachael. “When you are driving, you are traveling through space, with a lot of movement and lighting changes. With her dysfunctional peripheral systems, she just could not tolerate that kind of activity on either side of her,” says Dr. Zelinsky.
Rachael agrees, indicating she found it almost impossible to drive at night. “I would have to raise up a hand to block some of the light from oncoming vehicle headlights in order to stay in my lane and not become disoriented. I couldn’t tune it out.”
Compounding Rachael’s problems was her past history of having a lazy eye, for which she had undergone patching at a young age. “Her right and left peripheral systems were already fragile as a result, making them easily disrupted when she suffered the head injuries,” Dr. Zelinsky states.
Today’s standard eye examination still involves blocking off a patient’s peripheral eyesight and then checking how well the patient can use central eyesight to see high-contrast, stationary letters across a darkened room. Such testing is unable to address modern society’s demands for highly-functioning peripheral eyesight that allows a person to view rolling mobile phone screens, watch movie and video-game special effects and navigate busy traffic in cars with high-tech computer displays and GPS systems, explains Dr. Zelinsky.
The Mind-Eye Institute is recognized worldwide for its assessments of “visual processing” – namely, brain care rather than eye care. The term “visual processing” refers to the brain’s almost-instantaneous ability (partially beneath a conscious level of awareness) to take in external sensory signals (from eyesight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), meld them with a person’s internal sensory signals and then synthesize – process — the information, allowing a person to react and respond to his or her environment.
“The retina is composed of brain tissue and is part of the central nervous system. By changing the way light passes through the retina, we can affect how the brain reacts to information about the environment and modify a person’s spatial awareness, body posture and selective attention to sound,” says Dr. Zelinsky
She adds that this mind-eye connection is unique to each person’s processing system and experiences. “Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is able to use this concept of mind-eye testing – versus simply eye testing – to prescribe eyeglasses – ‘brain glasses’ — on a very individualized basis to stimulate the retina in ways that bring sensory systems into synchronization and alter a patient’s environment.”
Rachael, who is now a laboratory operator at the prestigious Broad Institute for biomedical and genomic research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says her Mind-Eye glasses have “made me feel like a new person. They have shifted my physical world [back to normal]. The constant ringing and high-pitched noise in my ears — gone; the headaches – nearly gone. Light does not seem as sharp and bright to me. I am better able to manage my time and am motivated again to work out.”
In her first appointment at the Mind-Eye Institute, Rachael underwent comprehensive evaluation. “A test that tracks eye movement showed that I was not even looking at words on a page in an organized manner. Instead, I was reading at a fifth-grade level. Someone like me who is going into the hard sciences as a profession should not be reading like a fifth-grader,” she says. She also struggled with recognizing shapes hiding within a cluttered background during the testing.
“What the Mind-Eye Institute is doing is next-generation science – truly incredible stuff,” says Rachael, who should know, having majored in biology in college, with additional courses in geoscience, including paleontology and paleobiological research.
“Rachael’s processing is improving more quickly than expected,” says Dr. Zelinsky, following Rachael’s second visit to the Mind-Eye. “She is on a phenomenal upward trajectory.”
“I am beyond pleased with what the Mind-Eye Institute has done for me. Dr. Deborah Zelinsky and her team have given me my life back.”
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