When I first arranged an appointment at Hellerstein & Brenner, it was already 5 months after my brain injury occurred. In January, a ski lift chair had hit me from behind and knocked me down backwards. My head hurt, but I wore a helmet and the pain diminished. I was able to ski the rest of the day. A month later, I had a terrible headache that lasted for three days. When I went to the ER, the doctors discovered a slow brain bleed had compressed my brain. I was admitted to the hospital and the surgeon performed a craniotomy, drilling two holes in my head to release the pressure. When I came out of the surgery, I knew something was wrong with my visual processing, but no one suggested how to treat it. The surgeon just cared about my head physically healing.
Following my time in the hospital, I started cognitive therapy. The therapy helped me manage strain on my brain and reduced mood swings with breathing exercises and other mental breaks. I also practiced cognitive processing speed exercises. However, my visual processing did not improve. When I went to a neuro-ophthalmologist, I obtained a pair of glasses with prisms to help with my visual tracking. Still, I was having trouble with reading and using a computer. Blue light bothered my brain and gave me headaches. I resorted to increasing the font size, using black backgrounds, and implementing the “read aloud” option on my computer, just to improve my typing and reading accuracy.
Finally, I found Hellerstein & Brenner Vision Center through an occupational therapist who decided she could not treat my visual processing issues. Dr. Amy Elsila recognized I had many visual processing issues – my eyes were not tracking together, my eyes did not focus on the same plane vertically, my periphery vision was limited, I was sensitive to bright light, and my eyes could not quickly diverge and converge on images. She prescribed computer glasses with blue light filters and then started me on visual processing therapy with Beth Fishman-McCaffery.
For a month, I just treated my central nervous system with Syntonic Upsilon-Omega D glasses, to mitigate pain and over-excitability. Then, over 5 months, I went to weekly therapy sessions and performed exercises at home to improve my visual processing. I was amazed at my progress. I went from reading 150 words per minute to reading more than 290 words per minute with 100% comprehension. My convergence and divergence and periphery vision also improved immensely. I am so thankful for Dr. Amy and Beth! They enabled me to recover my productivity at work, especially with computer tasks. I have always loved reading, and now I can enjoy reading novels, magazines, and books again. I also feel like I am a better person, especially after being treated with the Syntonic therapy glasses. They have improved my mood and calmed my nervous system. I am a much happier person now.
I would highly recommend Hellerstein & Brenner Vision Center to anyone who has experienced a brain injury and visual processing damage to the brain.
– Caryn B, age 49