Z-Bell Test

A Breakthrough in Eye-Ear Testing

‘Eyes and ears – like an orchestra in sync'

Sound and Vision


 Just as with eye-hand coordination, integration of vision and sound – eye-ear connection – must be developed. If the two senses are out of sync, a person can experience difficulties in academics, social situations and activities such as sports.

Balance between vision and hearing is necessary for a person to learn letter sounds, for example, while applying those sounds to the words they see on a page. In social situations, a person can better understand what another is saying – and meaning — by watching body language and facial expression. Autistic patients cannot discern the nuances of a joke because they simply listen. They do not connect sound and vision, because the environment around them is too confusing.

A student whose eyesight is more sensitive than his or her hearing may be easily distracted by activities and moving objects in the environment and unable to concentrate on what the teacher is saying. People whose peripheral vision is not sufficiently “tuned in” may have to turn their head before finding what is causing a certain sound.

A person can have sharp hearing and 20/20 central eyesight, but if the senses are not integrated and the brain is impaired, then the entire neurological system becomes like an orchestra without a conductor. Each musician may be quite talented with his/her learned instrument, but they must play in sync. If they are moving through the composition at different speeds, the result is noise – not music.

Standardized eye and ear tests check eyesight and hearing separately but fail to determine whether they are properly integrated.

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The Z-Bell Test:
A Breakthrough
in Eye-Ear Testing

 Thanks to the efforts of its founder, Deborah Zelinsky, O.D., the Mind-Eye Institute has developed a simple, easy examination – the Z-Bell Test® – to check a person’s overall eyesight – peripheral and central — and the integration of visual processing with listening. The test has changed the lives of many pediatric and adult patients, because it has allowed the Mind-Eye Institute team to prescribe eyeglasses that normalize the balance between central and peripheral eyesight receptors in the retina, while improving the connection between eyes and ears.

The Z-Bell Test®, which has become internationally recognized by eye experts and scientists, determines whether the environment is “in sync” or just plain confusing for patients.

The right mix of filters, lenses and/or prisms can readjust a patient’s visual balance and eye-ear connection by altering the way light disperses across the retina, thereby allowing patients to reach out with their eyes closed and immediately touch a small bell ringing near them. Changes in luminance on the eye affect how the brain interprets and reacts to information about the environment and can impact a person’s spatial awareness, movement, and selective attention to sound. In fact, sound can modify a person's reactions and responses to visual stimulation, because of the internal spatial mapping that has to match to make sense out of the environment.

It’s a ‘New Age’
in Vision Testing

 It’s a “new age” in eye testing. The eyeglass prescriptions developed through the Z-Bell Test have been called nothing short of “amazing,” even “miraculous” by patients, because they have brought relief for a range of symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, difficulty reading, learning and behavioral problems, attention deficit disorders, and anxiety. Many patients now being treated successfully suffered for years with the effects of eye-ear imbalances, brain injuries and other neurological issues, because they were told by different health professionals that their eyesight and hearing tested as normal. Unlike 20th century eyeglasses that merely correct central eyesight, Z-Bell-prescribed glasses are therapeutic, intended to bring a person’s inside and outside environments back into synchronization.

The common refrain of patients wearing the Z-Bell-prescribed glasses is: “I feel like myself again. I feel normal.”

A Case Study

Meg Scrivner, a native of Kansas and mother of four, sustained a serious head injury when the vehicle that she is driving — with two daughters, ages 11 and 15, riding with her — was broadsided.

“I could neither hear correctly nor tolerate light following my injury. I had to wear a hat outdoors, and, indoors, my husband and I put up curtains to go over blinds and used low-wattage lighting,” Meg relates. “My speech deteriorated. I had only a first- or second-grade vocabulary. I just couldn’t think straight. I stumbled; bumped into things. I could not even read signs while driving. And, I experienced horrible headaches.”

Healthcare practitioners told her to go home and rest; the symptoms would likely subside in four weeks to six weeks. But, they did not subside. Dissatisfied with the response of the medical community and neurology specialists, she contacted the Mind-Eye Institute where optometrist, Deborah Zelinsky O.D., conducted a battery of vision and visual processing tests, including her patented Z-Bell Test℠ to evaluate the patient’s ability to synchronize auditory and visual localization ability.

Dr. Zelinsky determined that, as a result of brain trauma, the patient judged size and depth of a target differently with each eye; was unable to have her peripheral vision be functioning on autopilot, losing a target while trying to concentrate on other mental tasks; and experienced difficulties synchronizing perception of space by the eyes and ears.

Working with different types of optometric glasses Dr. Zelinsky over time, was able to mitigate the patient’s symptoms by improving her visual processing capabilities, enhancing peripheral vision and re-integrating visual and auditory processing of surrounding space.

At the Mind-Eye Institute

We understand that interactions between the electrical and biochemical pathways in the brain affect physical, physiological and psychological systems.

Patients undergo thorough examination with advanced technology and testing techniques to measure visual performance and visual processing functions and determine whether the visual processing systems are in balance with other sensory systems that require perception of space and time, such as auditory localization ability. With this information, Institute experts can consider how light might be manipulated to positively impact patient brain function, with the goal of finding optimal ways of mitigating symptoms not improved or resolved through standard approaches.

Specifically, our team offers patients prescriptive eyeglasses, contact lenses or other optometric interventions to selectively stimulate light dispersed on the retina. Individualized lenses can:


  • Maximize patients’ visual performance and visual processing capabilities to create a stable balance between auditory and visual localization, each of which is used to visualize surrounding space.

  • Improve patient perception of the surrounding environment in order to modify behavior and enhance communication skills.

  • Help rebuild brain pathways or develop new pathways that enhance a patient’s ability to learn, understand and interact normally with others.

  • Help calm the nervous system’s reactions to environmental changes.

Getting In Touch With Us

To find out the next steps of registering as a patient or registering a child as a patient, please call the Mind•Eye Institute office at 847.501.2020 or you can fill out our online New Patient Inquiry Form on the right.

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'Dr. Zelinsky Is Renowned'

~ Norman Doidge, M.D. & Clark Elliott, Ph.D., Dr. Patrick Quaid and Patricia S. Lemer praise her accomplishments:

"Zelinsky fit Elliott with a series of eyeglasses designed to improve the perceptual damage that made his life so difficult... Getting fitted for Zelinsky's eyeglasses is like no eye appointment you've ever had... Now, Elliott says, he is almost entirely symptom-free, able to problem-solve, multi-task and find his way easily — all abilities he lost in the auto accident in 1999. When he put on his Phase VI glasses he felt something that he hadn't felt for years: "I felt normal."

Review: 'The Ghost in My Brain'
- The Chicago Tribune

"One brilliant Chicago-area optometrist I know, Deborah Zelinsky OD, FNORA, FCOVD, has developed a unique, patented, easy-to-administer evaluation called the Z-Bell Test. This test measures the efficiency of integration between visual processing and listening....A 2014 study at Vanderbilt University found that children with autism do not synchronize their seeing and hearing...I have watched Dr. Zelinsky administer this test to disbelieving colleagues, who were astounded by its accuracy and results...Over the past two decades, The Z-Bell Test has become internationally recognized by the scientific community.”

- Patricia S. Lemer, Licensed Profesional Counselor (LPC)

"I visited Dr. Zelinsky, and she showed me how she can use optical lenses to alter sensory filtering, by directing light to different retinal cells and brain circuits. This can influence activity in the brain and the hypothalamus to better regulate body chemistry, sensory integration, and even some auditory processing. [Dr. Zelinsky] works frequently with patients working with learning and cognitive disorders as well as TBIs."

- Norman Doidge, M.D.

"I was delighted to have Dr. Zelinsky personally contribute to the book. Her wealth of knowledge in the area of visual development and visual processing is widely known, not just through her contribution of eye-care to the author of “The Ghost in My Brain”, but also via her Mind-Eye Institute and the lectures and training their provide. Dr. Zelinsky is not just colleague and a friend, but also a valued member of the neuro-optometric community and an invaluable bridge to other allied professions treating brain injuries. Her contribution to the book is deeply appreciated."

- Dr. Patrick Quaid, MCOptom, FCOVD, PhD

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1414 Techny Rd,
Northbrook, IL 60062, USA