by Rachel H
“After making plans to go to Chicago, I remembered that I'd heard of an optometrist who specialized in vision recovery and brain injury. Dr. Zelinksy made time to see Eleni during our stay. At first, our sleeping beauty refused to be roused for her testing, but after a half hour snooze she woke up and looked around.
Only she didn't. Because she doesn't.
I knew there was something seriously wrong with her vision. Dr. Zelinksy confirmed that Eleni did not show signs of conscious or even subconscious vision at the appointment. The doctor felt that Eleni's nervous system was incredibly fragile. Because she cannot make sense of her environment, she retreats from it. This could explain why she sleeps more than a typical baby.
The doctor has a huge wall of diagnostic tools. With a playful spirit, she tested Eleni with apparatus after apparatus looking for a reaction. Fortunately we did see some reactions, which all supported a single conclusion. Eleni can see in a limited range like a ‘vision tunnel' on her left side. She is not actively using this sight, but it's there and can be demonstrated to affect her body. Her awareness is at the subcortical or “bodily” level, not a mental level. This explains why she responds to ABM therapy (very body-oriented), yet does not react to toys, sounds or people very often.
Without getting too technical, the good news is that there are some simple things we can do at home to try to ‘wake up' her brain. We must be gentle, so as not to overstimulate her. She can only engage in short, safe spurts. I'm so glad there is something we can do and that I sought it out. Because her vision problems are brain-based, not eye-based, we can hope that her vision can be significantly restored with proper stimulation and time!
Eleni was seen by an expert functional optometrist in Belgium today who showed me how to use light and color to stimulate healing in her brain. I know that sounds crazy, but just look up ‘syntonic light therapy'. Dr. Zelinsky put us in touch, and he is helping Eleni out of generosity. Can you imagine? The world is truly conspiring to bless this child.”
~ Rachel H, South Carolina