She Has Her Life Back, Thanks to a Pair of Eyeglasses”
Brain Injury Proves ‘Overwhelming’ Until Book Sends Her to Mind-Eye
Following a traumatic brain injury, Mary Werner of Northfield, Minnesota, struggled with memory loss. She was unable to drive, became too nauseous even to ride in a car, burned much of what she cooked, avoided family gatherings and public events like weddings, and did not enter a restaurant without donning noise-cancelling headphones.
But, a visit to the Mind-Eye Institute in Northbrook, Illinois, changed all that.
I started “having hope,” she says. That’s because the comprehensive examination and testing at the Institute covered aspects of her symptoms not previously addressed by other professionals.
The therapeutic eyeglasses prescribed by the Mind-Eye team eventually enabled Mary to drive again in traffic, drive cross-country and travel more than two hours without needing a day or more to recover. “I can even be in an airport or a restaurant now without headphones,” she says.
Next on the agenda, Mary says jubilantly, “returning to my career as a yoga instructor.”
Mary’s odyssey began when she fell down a flight of stairs at her home, striking her head five times and knocking herself unconscious. She spent several days in the hospital, but, after discharge, still had difficulty ambulating without assistance. “Initially, my walking was uneven, and I had a constant headache,” Mary says.
But walking and headaches proved to be among the least of her troubles. “I had to stop teaching. In fact, I could not even do yoga movements. I also found that I could not follow conversations and would become irritated with people talking in the background. I could not stand the sound of lawnmowers,” Mary says. She also avoided grocery stories where “sounds and lights” bothered her.
And, if taking a short trip, “I had to spend a day before and a day after resting. Sometimes, it took me a week to recover,” Mary says.
She sought help and received some relief from physical therapy and vestibular rehabilitation. “I was finally able to drive short distances in my hometown, but that was about it. Most things in my life continued to overwhelm me,” she says.
Mary made an appointment at an area “brain clinic” about six months after her fall, but experts there who examined her simply said “my symptoms will probably resolve – eventually,” she says.
About this time, someone advised her to get a copy of The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back, a book written and published in 2015 by Clark Elliott, a professor of artificial intelligence at DePaul University in Chicago. In the book, Elliott details his long, but successful, journey back to health following a severe traumatic brain injury – a journey that included referral to Deborah Zelinsky O.D. and her team at the Mind-Eye Institute.
Dr. Zelinsky is founder and research director of the Mind-Eye Institute and has extensive experience in neuro-optometry and neuro-optometric rehabilitation. Her work at the Institute is internationally recognized because of how it has revolutionized scientific understanding about eyecare professionals using the retina as a two-way portal into the mind and body.
“The way light disperses across the retina impacts brain function and body biochemistry,” explains Dr. Zelinsky.
Using prescriptive eyeglasses, lenses or other optometric interventions to selectively stimulate light dispersed on the retina, Dr. Zelinsky has helped patients redevelop visual skills during recovery from debilitating, life-altering symptoms of brain injuries. She also has worked to develop skills in patients with learning and behavioral problems.
Mary relates, “I had my husband read [Ghost in My Brain], too, and he said, ‘we have to go [to the Mind-Eye Institute].”.
During Mary’s first visit to the Institute, “Dr. Zelinsky did such a thorough examination, I began feeling a little hope.” That hope blossomed after Mary received her set of prescriptive “brain” glasses.
“I started seeing things more clearly. There was a definition to [objects] not noticed before,” Mary says. “Even colors appeared more vibrant, crisper.” She now had a greater awareness of her environment.
Most importantly, her overall symptoms gradually moderated.
“My husband and I recently returned to our home in Minnesota from Texas, driving by way of Salt Lake City. At the start of the trip, I could only drive about two hours but coming home I drove five hours,” Mary says triumphantly.
About her latest visit to the Mind-Eye Institute: “I rented a car at O’Hare Airport and drove it here to the clinic – although I had to make one U-turn,” she laughs.
“I am so grateful. The Mind-Eye Institute has given me my life back.”
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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.