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Why Mind-Eye Nominates Dr. Z as Optical’s ‘Most Influential’

A True Visionary

Is she influential?

Don’t ask. Deborah Zelinsky OD, founder and research director of the Mind-Eye Institute, represents the very definition of the term influential. That’s why the Mind-Eye team has nominated her for recognition as an “innovator” in the nationwide Vision Monday 2019 “Most Influential Women in Optical” competition.

Vision Monday (VM) is considered the leading news and news analysis web site for the ophthalmic industry. Women selected from among nominees will be highlighted in the July 2019 issue of VM Magazine and saluted as “making a difference” in the eye wear and eye care industry.

In submitting Dr. Zelinsky’s name in nomination, the Mind-Eye team wrote:

For almost 30 years, Dr. Zelinsky has devoted her career to neuro-optometry, neuro-optometric rehabilitation and development of advanced methods for assessing brain function, with emphasis on the often-untested linkage between eye and ears. Her patented research in novel uses of retinal stimulation has been described in publications and courses worldwide. She developed the Z-Bell Test ®, a simple, but revolutionary, method of checking a patient’s overall integration of visual processing with listening. The test has changed the lives of both pediatric and adult patients by allowing Dr. Zelinsky and her team to prescribe eyeglasses that normalize the balance between central and peripheral retinal receptors, while improving the interaction between eyes and ears.

“With the Z-Bell Test ®, we can determine whether the environmental stimuli are in sync or just plain confusing for a patient,” she explains. “Using the proper mix of filters, lenses and/or prisms, we can readjust eye-ear integration and attention/awareness ratio. That’s because filters, lenses and prisms alter the way in which light activates the retina, which is part of the central nervous system. Changes in luminance on the eye can also affect how the brain interprets and reacts to sensory information from the environment and can impact a person’s spatial awareness, body movement and selective attention to sound.”

Dr. Zelinsky’s ground-breaking efforts in assessing brain function is described in the recently published 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. The book was written by one of her former patients, Clark Elliott, PhD, a professor of artificial intelligence at DePaul University in Chicago.

Because of her international reputation for work on the retina and the retina’s impact on brain function, physiology and mental health, she became the first optometrist ever invited to present at the prestigious Neuroscience N20 World Brain Mapping & Therapeutic Scientific Summit, held near Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November 2018. There, she addressed scientists, physicians and engineers from throughout the world. Results of the consortium’s discussions on the brain, mental health and neurodegenerative diseases were later presented to global political leaders attending the 2018 G20 Summit at the same hotel.

Dr. Zelinsky was asked to chair three major panel sessions on topics in neuro-optometry and neuro-optometric rehabilitation during the 16th Annual World Congress of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT) in Los Angeles in March 2019. She moderated a dozen speakers and 15 presentations on topics ranging from depth perception, brain concussions and learning difficulties to cognitive processing, effects of movement and the impact of environment on patients – even on their smiles. Many patients who suffer brain injuries lose their smiles, which affects how others treat them. Glasses that make these patients more comfortable often allow them to regain their smiles and be treated like their former selves.