Neuro-optometric rehabilitation goes far beyond the standard 20/20 eye examination and use of traditional eyeglasses and/or contact lenses to sharpen central eyesight. The eye’s retina is a piece of brain tissue and can be affected by brain injuries, brain and nervous system disorders and neurochemical imbalances. Similarly, the retina can impact brain function and brain biochemistry by how it receives light stimuli and perceives its surrounding environment and how it integrates with auditory and other sensory systems.
Optometrists experienced in neuro-optometric rehabilitation utilize a variety of tests, protocols and visual learning games to evaluate and enhance a patient’s overall visual performance, visual function and visual processing capabilities, including eye alignment; eye movements and tracking; eye-hand coordination; binocular vision and depth; visual-motor and perceptual-cognitive skills; and various visual systems’ integration with other sensory systems, including hearing and balance.
Oftentimes, neuroplasticity can alter dysfunctional circuitry and symptoms of brain injuries, such as vertigo, concentration/attention problems and headaches, over time through redevelopment of visual processing skills and use of non-traditional “brain” eyeglasses, as well as other optometric interventions, including prisms and shading or colored tints.
A Case Study
A patient had trouble reading; he had trouble walking. In fact, his eyesight was affected every time he looked down. Yet, he had 20/20 central eyesight when looking straight ahead. He did not need glasses, several ophthalmologists said. Most of them indicated his problem – acute zonal occult outer retinopathy or AZOOR – could not be fixed. AZOOR is a condition in which a patient’s own immune system damages the outer rim (peripheral cells) of the retina. In the case of this patient – a man in his 40s, the top edge of the retina had degraded.
A visit to the Mind-Eye Institute in Northbrook, Ill., however, changed this patient’s life – and his eyesight. Mind-Eye founder and research director Deborah Zelinsky O.D. prescribed a set of glasses – without lenses, of course, because the patient had normal central eyesight – that used prisms. “The prisms were able to bend light away from the damaged areas of the retina and onto unaffected, healthy parts of the eye,” Dr. Zelinsky says. “By rerouting light, the patient’s brain could create new signaling pathways between the retina and the visual cortex. He eventually was able to read again, walk without trouble and ‘see’ while looking downward.”
At the Mind-Eye Institute
We use the advanced technology and testing techniques of neuro-optometric rehabilitation to examine patients thoroughly — fully measuring their visual performance, visual processing capabilities and sensory integration with other body systems. With this information, Institute experts assess how light might be manipulated to positively impact each patient’s visual processing and can recommend tailored exercises to enhance overall visual performance. The goal is to find optimal ways of mitigating symptoms that have not improved or resolved through standard approaches.
Specifically, our Institute team offers patients prescriptive eyeglasses, contact lenses or other optometric interventions to::
Maximize visual performance and processing by creating a stable balance between auditory and visual localization.
Improve perception of the surrounding environment in order to modify behavior and enhance communication skills.
Help rebuild brain pathways or develop new pathways that enhance the ability to learn, understand and interact with others with less effort.
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 Revered
~ Norman Doidge, M.D. & Clark Elliott, Ph.D. praise her accomplishments
‘The Ghost in My Brain’ by Clark Elliott’
The Chicago Tribune
“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.