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The Eye Exam Upgrade: Leaving 20/20 in The 20th Century

Adventures in Brain Injury Podcast Episode 48

Dr. Zelinsky was recently on the “Adventures in Brain Injury Podcast” With Cavin Balaster:

I originally met Dr. Deborah Zelinsky in 2014, when I presented for the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA). After my keynote presentation (watch here), she approached me with a whole lot of inspired encouragement for my mission and a desire to collaborate. I have been in touch with Dr. Zelinsky for years, and I am so impressed with who she is, the work she does, and her revolutionary approach to neuro-optometry.

Since then, I have participated in a few presentations and collaborations with Dr. Z, including the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics annual conference where we did a round table discussion together (video below) and the Neuroplasticity of Visual Processing, where I presented alongside Olympic Hopeful Snowboarder, Kevin Pearce (picture below).

Since having her as my optometrist in the past year and a half, I have been more comfortable in a pair of glasses than ever before. Her approach is absolutely revolutionary.

Mark my words:

Dr. Zelinsky will be the catalyst to a revolution in eye exams… bringing 20th-century eye care to 21st-century brain care.

At the most recent NORA conference, Dr. Zelinsky discussed how different lenses, prisms, and filters change the way light bends and disperses across the retina and the resulting impact on a patient’s awareness of space and posture, as well as on retinal processing. “When light strikes the 126 million photoreceptor cells in each retina,” she explains, “brain function is activated, governing not only eyesight but also to the regulation of many other physical functions, including posture and sleep.” Her incorporation of our senses beyond just vision takes the guessing out of eyeglass prescriptions. As Dr. Zelinsky says “the retina is composed of brain tissue and is part of the central nervous system, affecting processes like thinking, spatial awareness, movement, perception of the surrounding environment and selective attention to sound.”

I can attest to all of that!

Attention is the currency of our neurology. And I believe that vision is the most important factor in our brain’s endurance and focus.

In this episode, we talk about:

09:20 – Eye exams were standardized in 1862 and little has changed since
11:20 – Functions of vision that are not conscious
12:30 – 94% of vision is unconscious (Patrick Quaid, MCOptom, FCOVD, PhD)
14:00 – The sensory diet
16:00 – Eye/Vestibular & Ear/Vestibular
17:30 – The Z-Bell Test – Eye/Ear Coordination
19:30 – How the Z-Bell test was developed
20:30 – Neurotransmitters and light
23:00 – Cavin’s experience with vision, lenses, and the brain (and brain statistics)
25:30 – How lenses change the space around you
26:00 – Deborah’s story and mental blackboard
29:30 – Eye/Ear development vs reflexes and their disruption
32:00 – Reading vs. listening to learn
34:30 – Mind/Eye Institute Practitioner Training
35:00 – Eye Exam is ready for an update
35:30 – Vision for nervous system comfort
36:00 – Dr. Zelinsky’s Mentors
37:30 – Showing bedside changes in function to change medical practice
39:00 – Retina changes before the rest of brain – how we can diagnose brain conditions through vision tests
39:30 – Visual processing and quality of life
40:30 – Clark Elliot’s Facebook Group
44:00 – Synergistic Therapies
45:30 –

Cavin Balaster’s Links:

How To Feed a Brain Audiobook
NORA 2014
This episode is brought to you in part by Feed a Brain. Learn more at