Northbrook eye doctor improving lives of people with brain trauma using special glasses
NORTHBROOK, Ill. - Did you know that what you see is linked to how you hear and experience the world around you? A Northbrook optometrist is now world renowned for her research into what she calls Mind-Eye Brainwear.
In a FOX 32 Special Report, we have a fascinating look at how a simple prescription adjustment is literally changing people’s lives overnight.
Tucker Matzke underwent a special eye exam, something called the Z-Bell Test.
"A lot of people don't realize the eyes and ears are connected," said Dr. Deborah Zelinsky.
Tucker was at the Mind-Eye Institute in Northbrook. He came to the facility after three years of struggling with anxiety, depression and an inability to focus.
Tucker played football and wrestled in high school, but had to quit because of multiple concussions.
Tucker was always a gifted student and talented musician who started playing the piano at age four. But he says his undiagnosed symptoms got worse and he had to drop out of college.
"It was just an extremely overwhelming feeling and they resulted in panic attacks, which I ended up in the hospital multiple times," he said.
"He had called me and told me that he loved me and that he thought he was going to die and that he was having a major attack," said Tucker’s mother, Ginger Matzke.
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Ginger says she was told by doctors that tucker was struggling from mental illness, possibly bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and needed to be put on medication. That's when Ginger became the relentless, determined mom. She did her research and learned about the Mind-Eye Institute.
"Within 10 minutes I was like oh my gosh this is the right place," she said.
Tucker was given special therapeutic eye glasses called Mind-Eye Brainwear.
"Our Mind-Eye Brainwear is used to alter brain activity as opposed to sharpening eyesight," said Dr. Zelinsky.
Zelinsky is the founder of the Mind-Eye Institute. She says the retina is the window to the brain.
"When you have some type of brain trauma, there's a disruption between your eyes and your ears and how you process the space around you or between your central and peripheral eyesight," she said.
She's done extensive research into how the eyes impact our body and serve as a point of entry for determining brain function.
Zelinsky wants the standard eye test for 20-20 vision to be changed for people who have experienced some type of brain trauma, whether it be a concussion, neurological disorders, a stroke, autism, ADHD, PTSD, and even learning problems in children.
For those people, if their peripheral vision is not working, it can affect them physically and result in sensory overload.
So, she adjusted the 20-20 so their central vision is not perfect, but their peripheral vision is improved.
For Tucker, the impact was immediate
"It's pretty life changing stuff," he said.
That's where the Z-Bell Test comes in. Named after Dr. Zelinsky, her research has shown what you hear is linked to how you see — and because the retina is connected to the brain, if the two don't work in unison, it can have a negative impact on your health
"Just because you have 20-20, does not mean you don't need glasses. You might need them to listen better, you might need them to be more comfortable. You might need them to feel that you can navigate your environment," Dr. Zelinsky said.
Tucker is not fully back to his old self, but he's getting there — all because of his eyeglasses.
For mom, his recovery is nothing short of a miracle, especially when she was told by so many other doctors there was nothing they could do.
"There is medicine, there is treatment out there that has not become mainstream yet and we need to really, really explore that," Ginger said.