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InfantSee Vision Screenings for Infants 6 to 12 Months of Age

Most people are surprised to hear that the American Optometric Association recommends eye exams to begin at six months of age. By six months, your child has met several important developmental milestones. At birth, the eyes begin to focus about a foot away from the child, mostly looking at faces. Around two months old, the child is learning to look around. At this point, the eyes don’t always coordinate well together. Your child should be able to track moving objects by four months old and begin reaching for things. As their eye hand coordination improves, they will become more accurate in reaching for things. Continue reading

Bright Eyes Kids is Coming Soon!!

Bright Eyes Kids

Bright Eyes Kids is coming soon!

Since we opened Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in 2006, the number of pediatric patients has steadily grown. At first we saw very few, but now almost half of our patients are under 18 years old. And that is no accident. After I completed my Residency in Pediatric Optometry and Binocular Vision in Chicago, I knew I wanted to work  with kids. I wondered if I was crazy for moving home to Florida, the retirement capital of the world.

Well, lo and behold, there are children in Florida and many of them need eye care. So we have been planning for the last year to expand our services specifically to children. And I am now very, very happy to announce that in March we will be opening a new location specifically for children’s eye care. Called Bright Eyes Kids, it will bring the skill and care you expect from us at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care to New Tampa and be tailored specifically for children!

Why New Tampa? Well there are many reasons. The first is that we frequently have patients that come from areas such as Gainesville, Winter Haven, and other places east of Tampa. Located near I-75, the new office will be much more accessible for patients because they will not have to drive all the way across town. Another reason is that my family and close relatives actually live in the New Tampa area and it will be great to practice closer to home. The new address is 15303 Amberly Drive, Suite C, Tampa, FL 33647.

What will be offering at Bright Eyes Kids? Eye exams for infants, toddlers, and gradeschoolers and teens. We will be fitting contact lenses and specialty glasses for young kids. We will have an expanded area to offer vision therapy, to help children develop the visual skills they need to be successful at school and life. We will offer orthokeratology for kids who want 20/20 vision all day while not wearing glasses or contacts.

But don’t worry – nothing will change at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in Westchase. I will still be seeing patients there regularly and we will. Moms, grandpas and other adults are welcome to come see us there!

Now, please. Help us making Bright Eyes Kids the best it can be  by completing this very, very short survey. While we are finalizing details about the new office, this is your chance to help us get them right. Click here to take the brief survey.

Dr. Nate

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
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AOA School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision

The American Optometric Association recently held a School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision in which doctors, nurses, educators and advocates for children’s health gathered to examine learning-related vision issues that are keeping children from achieving in the classroom. This summit was created to address the concerns that our current system is flawed and a policy shift is needed. The problem is that currently, the U.S. educational system and some health care providers rely heavily on vision screenings to discover the kids that need comprehensive exams. These screenings do catch some types of vision problems but they can miss about 75% of those children that have learning-related vision problems. Detecting these vision problems is very important as “studies show that much of what children learn comes though vision, and undetected and untreated eye and vision disorders in children, such as amblyopia and strabismus, can result in vision loss, additional costly treatments, delayed reading and poorer outcomes in school.”

The take-home statement that the summit produced is that comprehensive eye exams must serve as the foundation to determine school readiness in school-aged children. Another important point established at this meeting is the establishment of the link between healthy vision and classroom learning.

This historic summit is an important step in ensuring that children receive the proper detection and treatment of vision problems before they become detrimental to their learning. Here at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, we are excited to see these changes being made, since it has been our goal from the beginning to not only catch vision problems at an early stage, evidenced by the InfantSEE program that we offer that provides free eye exams to infants between the age of 6 months and 1 year of age, but to also treat certain types of problems through our extensive one-on-one vision therapy program.

If you have any questions regarding the InfantSEE program, vision therapy program, or would like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child before they start school, give our office a call or come in to schedule.

All the best,

Justin Schoonover, CPO

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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Bright Eyes Baby Day – May 8, 2010

Join Bright Eyes on Saturday, May 8 for Baby Day!


  • No-cost InfantSEE®eye assessment for your baby!
  • Baby Tweetup!
  • Free Baby Sunglasses
  • Awesome Giveaways
  • A chance to win a gift basket from Mi Bebe!
  • Refreshments

What is Baby Day?Beach Boy by chimothy27

At Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, we love patients of all ages, but the cutest and most cuddly ones are babies. Most parents don’t know that the American Optometric Association recommends the first eye and vision evaluation should be at six months of age. So we have created Baby Day! On this day we will provide no-cost eye exams for babies and educate the public on infant and children’s eye care. See the press release here.

InfantSee Morning (10 a.m to noon)

In the morning, we will be scheduling only InfantSEE® patients. Created by the American Optometric Association, InfantSEE®is a public health initiative to screen babies for potential vision problems. InfantSEE® assessments are offered free of charge to infants between six and twelve months of age.  It’s a comprehensive eye exam that evaluates a baby’s vision, eye tracking skills, & overall eye health. Long-time readers may remember my daughter’s InfantSEE® evaluation. Now that Javier is 6 months old, he’ll be joining us on Baby Day for his very first eye exam!

Call soon to schedule, as appointments are limited for Baby Day! (And if you can’t make it May 8, you can schedule an InfantSEE® exam during regular office hours, too!)

Baby Tweetup (1 p.m. to 3 p.m. RSVP on FB  here)

Our office is fairly social media savvy and we enjoyed hosting the first Westchase Tweetup last year. If you don’t know, a Tweetup is a real-life gathering of users of social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Typically these events are lots of fun and are excellent networking opportunities. Well, the Baby Tweetup is no different, except that we are specifically inviting little tykes under 24 months and their families. So if your Facebook page is covered with pics and videos of your little bambino, be sure and stop by. And don’t forget to check in on foursquare.  😉

Open House (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Stop by anytime during throughout the day to say hello and check out all the other cute babies! The first 25 babies get a tote bag with baby sunglasses and other goodies. Parents can register to win a gift basket from Mi Bebe. We’ll also have some light refreshments (sodas, juice boxes for kids, cookies and more) for you to enjoy!


Bright Eyes,  Mi Bebe, and My Gym are the current sponsors. However, because we want spread the word about infant vision care as far as possible, we are looking for other people or businesses to sponsor Baby Day! You can be a sponsor by donating give-aways or door prizes or by helping us get the word out! If you are interested in joining us or have any questions, please let me know.

I can’t wait to see all the babies at Bright Eyes! So cute!

UPDATES: First, We will be using the hashtag #BABYDAY to track comments on Twitter. Second, this is becoming a national event! We have eye doctors in California, New York, Indiana, and Utah who will be joining us! Ask your eye doctor if they be hosting any special BABY DAY events!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

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Top 10 New Years Resolutions to Save Money on Eyecare (Without Sacrificing Quality)

2010Welcome to 2010, everyone!  I hope you are enjoying the start of a brand-new decade.

Readers of this blog know that it is a Bright Eyes News tradition to create an eye related Top Ten List of New Years Resolutions. For 2008, wrote about resolutions for eye health. For 2009, I wrote about resolutions for children’s vision.

Thinking back to 2009, I’ve talked to a number of patients who had lost – or were about to lose – their jobs.  It was an economically challenging year for many.  So I thought this year I would take this issue head-on and make a list for people who want to save money on eyecare. But, as a doctor, it wouldn’t be appropriate to just say, “Skip your exams, squint instead of updating your glasses, and wear your contacts until your eyes fall out.” First, it isn’t sound advice. Second, many of these actually cost more money in the long run.

So here is a list of New Years Resolutions to Save Money on Eyecare (Without Sacrificing Quality). I hope that you find it helpful.

1) Maintain a regular schedule for eye exams.

Many people feel that they are saving money by skipping their recommended eye exams.  Did you know that eye exams are primarily about eye health, not just clarity of sight?  There are some blinding conditions with no symptoms that can only be detected with a thorough eye exam. If caught early, they can often be treated early with much simpler treatments. This can save hundreds or thousands of dollars of complicated treatment, including ocular surgery. This doesn’t even factor in the lost income and quality of life that can come from the loss of vision.

2) Get the exam that you pay for.

This may seem very obvious, but you should be sure that you are getting a complete and thorough eye exam. After all, if you are paying for something, you should get it.  Sometimes people are reluctant to have their pupils dilated during an exam, but if they don’t, the doctor cannot look for signs of disease in the back of the eye. Find out if there is a charge to come back and finish the exam at a later date. If you bring your child to eye doctor because you have concerns that vision may be affecting school performance, ask beforehand what type of tests are included.  Not all vision plans will cover this specialized testing, so you should find out how much it costs.

3) Utilize InfantSEE.

As with all health issues, prevention is more cost effective than treatment. This is particularly true for infants. An eye early eye exam can detect potential problems such as extreme nearsightedness and farsightedness as well as strabismus and amblyopia. To assist in this, the American Optometric Association created the public health initiative called InfantSEE. Optometrists who participate in the program will provide one visual and eye health exam to infants between six and twelve months old at no charge.

4) Understand your Vision Plan, Medical Insurance, Flex and HSAs.

Some medical plans have coverage for eye exams. Some plans specifically cover medical problems such as eye infections and glaucoma. Other plans are specifically for vision and will have coverage for a vision exam, glasses, or contacts, but not medical visits. If you or your employer pays for these benefits, use them wisely. Find out what the annual benefits are. Ask the doctor’s staff to help you maximize your benefits. For example, you are getting both glasses and contact lenses and your plan only covers one of these, you may save more money applying the benefits to the glasses.  Also know that you cannot ask that the vision plan be billed on a different date than you actually received the service.  However, you CAN use your Flex and HSA accounts for eyecare and optical purchases.

5) Select your eyewear carefully.

When you are picking out eyewear, try on the styles and brands that you like. But keep in mind the purpose of each pair of glasses you buy. You might love the Tiffany & Co. frames with crystals, but if you work or play hard, it might make more sense to get some less expensive frames that are built to be durable. Costa Del Mar sunglasses are durable, but if you are prone to losing them(or dropping them in the gulf!) spend a extra few dollars on a glasses strap. And when shopping  around, be sure you compare apples to apples. A discount store or online retailer may be cheaper,  but consider material quality and customer service when making your choice.  Will your optical service remake lenses in the case of an error?  What happens if the coating flakes off within a few months?

6) Get the right lens materials and coatings.

Find out what the doctor or optician recommends for lens options, but don’t just assume that more expensive is better. Some lens options are worth a little extra: Crizal Alize or VisoXC will improve the clarity of your lenses, reduce glare, and resist scratches.  Some fabulously high-tech lens materials are essential for someone with a very high prescription but may be a waste of money if you have a low prescription. We always recommend UV protection for all general purpose glasses, but if you only use glasses for reading indoors, then it may not be needed. I encourage you to get glasses that meet your needs, but that doesn’t mean that every pair has to have all the bells and whistles. If the optical staff do not explain your options to your satisfaction – ask. They may be able to help you save money when they understand how the glasses are to be used.

7) Try multipurpose lenses.

Do you own just one pair of shoes? Not likely, because most people have different shoes for different purposes. Your eyes also have different needs and no one single pair of glasses will meet all those needs.  But you don’t need to own a baker’s dozen pairs of glasses either. If you have a different prescription for reading and distance (like most people over 45), save money with just one pair of bifocals or progressives. In Florida, it is best to have a dedicated pair of prescription sunglasses.  But eyewear with clip-on sunglasses or Transitions (that darken in the sun) are a cost-effective and protect your eyes from UV and bright sun.

8) Make use of your warranties.

If you are spending hard-earned money on glasses, you expect them to work well for you. Always inquire about what warranty is included in your purchase. At Bright Eyes, all of our eyewear frames come with a 2 year, unconditional breakage warranty. If you get premium scratch coating, it also includes 2 year scratch warranty. See if your optical offers similar coverage and if they do, make use of it.

9) Learn about your contacts.

Talking to your optometrist about your contact lens options.  Monthly lenses may be a cost-saving option for full-time wearers;  daily lenses are a good deal for occasional contact wearers, especially when you factor in the solution costs.  RGP (hard) contacts frequently outperform their soft counterparts and can be up to half as expensive.

10) Consider alternative financing options.

Many offices, including ours, accept Care Credit, a health care credit card with options for 6-months interest-free financing.  This is helpful for more expensive treatments not covered by insurances, such as Corneal Reshaping (orthokeratology), an method of providing glasses- free vision, or vision therapy, which allows people to overcome visual challenges to live life up to their potential.  Even eyeglasses and eye exams qualify for Care Credit purchases. Ask about Care Credit or similar programs at your doctor’s office.

I hope that this has been helpful in ensuring that you get best eyecare possible! Happy New Year!

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care

New Federal Recognition and Funding for InfantSEE® Program

I received an email today from the American Optometric Association:

President Barack Obama signed into law a measure that provides nearly $600,000 in new federal resources to help expand the scope and impact of InfantSEE® – the signature public health program of the American Optometric  Association (AOA) and administered by Optometry’s CharityTM – The AOA Foundation.

The first direct appropriation, sponsored by Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) totaled $500,000 and is aimed at supporting expansion and outreach of the program.

“Many parents of newborns do not know that the most dramatic development of a child’s visual system occurs within the first year of life,” said Sen. Byrd. “And it is through early detection and treatment of potential problems that parents can help ensure poor vision and eye health does not severely affect their child’s ability to learn and place them at a disadvantage in education and in life.”

The second direct appropriation totaling $90,000 was sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and will support program expansion through outreach in Iowa.

“InfantSEE® is doing much more than identifying and treating risk factors that may cause eye and vision problems later in the life,” said Sen. Harkin. “They are taking prevention to a new level to ensure healthier, thriving children and lower health care costs down the road.”

InfantSEE® assessments are complementary to the routine well-care exams a baby receives from a pediatrician or family physician. Optometrists have the training to identify areas of risk that are critical to vision development and the skills to identify conditions that might not be detected in a routine pediatric wellness exam. In some cases, conditions may need to be monitored, immediately treated or referred to a pediatric eye specialist.

At Bright Eyes, we believe in and support the InfantSEE® program. You can see this post where I discuss Nora’s first eye exam. I will probably do the same when Javier comes in for his exam when he is six months old. If you have a newborn or are expecting, remember that the InfantSEE® exam provides a no-cost vision assessment if your baby is between 6 and 12 months old.

Be well!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

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Michigan Governor Declares this week InfantSEE week.

InfantSEE from the AOA

Like many Optometrists, I provide visual care to infants. I support the effort in Michigan to get the word out about this important program

“(Dr. Daniel) Mosser, Dr. Robert Barnett II, Dr. Carolyn Ormes and Dr. Barry Morrisson are Martinsburg-based optometrists who will be participating in the clinic program, which was set in motion after Gov. Joe Manchin declared May 4 through May 16 InfantSEE Week.

This week, more than 50 eye doctors statewide will be providing free comprehensive eye and vision assessments for babies between 6 and 12 months of age, by appointments only.

Br. Bonilla-Warford participates in InfantSEE. If you have a little one who is 6 to 12 months of age, bring her or him to Bright Eyes for a no-cost visual assessment because it’s easier to prevent a visual problem than treat one!

Be Well!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

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Little Four Eyes Writes about First Glasses

Little Four Eyes is one of my favorite blogs. It is well written, now has some snappy illustrations, and is very helpful for parents who have little bundles of joy that need glasses.

This post “when you’ve just found out your young child needs glasses” is a lengthy MUST READ for any parents who are raising young children with glasses. Ann talks about the emotions of dealing with glasses and scads of helpful, pragmatic information.

This info is so good, I will be sharing it with parents who come in the office looking for very small glasses.


Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

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Parenting Magazine:Strabismus Can Be Missed During Routine Exams

In the July 2008 issue of Parenting magazine, William Sears, M.D.,  author of many books on childcare and parenting, wrote an article titled “Take Charge of Your Child’s Heath: 5 Common Conditions and How You can help Catch Them.”

The number one issue that Dr. Sears says that can be overlooked by a pediatrician is strabismus, which is the wandering or crossing of an eye. While the article is too brief to be complete, I am glad that Dr. Sears makes a point that strabismus  can be missed during a routine appointment and that parents should trust what they see… typically, if a mom sees something really wrong, there is.

I’d like to add a few additional comments to the article.

First, it mentions that strabismus can be treated with glasses or surgery. This is true, but it may also be treated with vision therapy. Second, It is better to prevent a visual problem than fix one later. The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams at 6 months, 3 years, and each year during school. To help, the AOA created a program, InfantSee, that provides no-cost eye exams for infants less than 12 months old

Be Well!