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The Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind

What are you doing this summer? Now that the kids are a little bigger, we decided to embark on a family road trip. We drove up I-75, headed to a family reunion in Louisville, KY. I was born in Kentucky, but I do not get back there very often. Along the way, we stopped at Rock City, Mammoth Cave, Bernheim Forest, and the World’s Largest Peanut.

One of our visits in Louisville was the museum of the American Printing House for the Blind. From their website: The Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind is dedicated to preserving and presenting the fascinating educational history of people who are blind and the historic contributions of the American Printing House for the Blind for the benefit of people who are visually impaired, educators of people who are visually impaired, and the broader community.

It was a very interesting experience. The museum is very well done with many displays on the history of systems of print for the visually impaired, including methods for printing Braille on a personal and industrial scale. The largest Braille project ever was an entire copy of the 1954 World Book Encyclopedia! (picture below)

But it is not just about printing – they also have exhibits about low-vision devices for visually-impaired individuals, an exhibit about talking books and how they produce books on tape and CD. They also have displays of devices that visually-impaired students have used to learn math. If you ever find yourself in Louisville, I encourage you to take an hour or two and visit the museum. They also have interactive tours, which we did not have time to attend.

You can learn more about the American Printing House for Blind and their services at their website:

-Dr. Nate

History of Louis Braille

History of Louis Braille

The entire World Book Encyclopedia in Braille

The entire World Book Encyclopedia in Braille

20170703 130234

Learning to type in Braille.

Games for the visually impaired

Games for the visually impaired

One of the many early Braille writers.

One of the many early Braille writers.


Interview with Robin & Jillian about “Jillian’s Story” and Vision Therapy

Jillians Story

When a book comes out that helps people understand vision and vision therapy I write about it so my patients can find out about it. When an amazing book comes out, I try to interview the authors to not only spread the word, but because I am genuinely interested in their background and the process of writing. Like Fixing My Gaze, Jillian’s Story is one of those books that does a better job of explaining vision therapy than I can. So I am thrilled to be able to present an interview with its authors Robin Benoit and Jillian Benoit. -Dr. Nate

Dr. Nate: Robin, what made you decide that you wanted to take the time and effort to write the “Jillian’s Story”? Was there one moment, or a gradual realization?

I don’t think a week went by after Jillian started vision therapy that I didn’t say, “Somebody needs to do something to raise awareness about vision therapy.” My husband would always reply, “You should write a book.” But, I didn’t really consider it and sort of laughed at the idea. Then, one day after school as we were driving home in the car, Jillian told me that she suspected a girl in her class needed vision therapy because she had noticed her friend covering one eye with her hand as she read a book. I mentioned it the next day to Jillian’s teacher. She said, “You know, Robin, you and Jillian really need to write a book. I think Jillian’s story could help so many people.” That night, I started writing “Jillian’s Story.” I had searched for books to read about vision therapy and couldn’t find very much. I really wanted to read personal accounts from other parents about how vision therapy had worked for their child. When faced with the fact that our pediatrician didn’t refer us to vision therapy, our ophthalmologist discredited it and insurance wouldn’t cover it, we went on faith and hope that vision therapy would prove to be helpful to Jillian. We are so grateful that vision therapy exceeded all of our hopes and expectations. We hope “Jillian’s Story” will inspire, encourage and lend confidence to others considering vision therapy for themselves or their child.

Jillian, how does it feel to be famous? To have a book about you that people all over the country are talking about?

(Laughing) Am I famous? I haven’t noticed! At first I was kind of nervous, but then I realized how many people, especially kids, I could help just because I have vision problems like they do. Vision Therapy has made such a huge difference for me. I love 3D movies now because I can see stuff come out of the screen instead of a bunch of blurry junk. 3D movies used to make me feel sick. Now they are really fun! I used to get so frustrated at school. Now I love it. It’s so much easier to learn when you can see. I don’t get frustrated with homework anymore. Homework that would have taken me an hour to do before vision therapy now takes me just 5 or 10 minutes. I even love math now and I never thought I’d say that. I can read any book I want, even a thick one like “Harry Potter.” Vision therapy really changed my world and I’m so happy to share my story. I hope our book will help anyone with vision problems to have a happier life.

Robin, how long it it take to write and get printed?

I wrote the first draft about Jillian’s younger years very quickly, probably in just a few days. I started the chapters on her vision therapy experience about half way through her 15-month program and wrapped it up a little at a time as she completed vision therapy. Jillian read what I wrote throughout the writing process and added her suggestions and quotes for each chapter. It all came together quickly and easily. I had no idea how to get a book published. I did a little research on the Internet and bought a very thick book called the Writer’s Market. I went through it page by page and highlighted publishers I thought might be interested in her story. But, I just didn’t think that mailing in manuscripts and waiting months for a reply (not to mention rejection letters) was the right way to go. So, before I mailed a single manuscript, I decided to call an old friend for advice. He had written a book several years ago and I hoped he could give me some tips to follow. He did more than that! He suggested I contact a friend of his who owns a publishing company in Dallas and gave me her phone number. That was in July of 2010. I signed with Brown Books Publishing Group on August 11th and the book was released on November 12th. It was a whirlwind and I loved the entire experience!

Jillian: Vision therapy involves a lot different activities. I asked Dr. Barry which was her favorite and she said “Brock String.” Which was your favorite VT activity?

There is more than one. When I worked with Lindsey in her office, I loved the balance beam and wearing the “googly glasses.” I looked so silly in those glasses, like a mad scientist from one of those movies. It made me laugh. I also liked the big rotator and putting the golf tees in the holes. At home I liked the ball on the string and, like Dr. Barry, the “Brock String.”

Are you pleased with the how the book came out and the response so far?

(Robin): We are really pleased with it. The cover had to be redesigned rather late in the process. Our publisher ran across a book published in 1985 that looked too similar in font and coloring. We actually like the second design and colors even better, so it was a blessing in disguise. The eye chart is so iconic and the response has been that the second you see the book, you know it is about vision. We wanted our book to be like sitting down with a friend to talk about a problem. It’s wonderful to know that anyone looking for an answer or solution to their concerns can read our book in one evening, go to bed and wake up the next morning feeling much better about their situation. And, that is the response we’re getting. We’ve received emails from all across the country from people who feel we’ve been living the same life.

(Jillian): I love the book! One of the things I like best about it is that it’s quick and easy to read. Lindsey told us about a family that read it — grandmother, mom and daughter — and they raved about how it answered questions and helped all of them understand vision problems better. Friends at school have read it and come up to hug me! That’s awesome!

Have you had any interesting people contact you because of “Jillian’s Story”?

(Jillian): I had the chance to write a note to a girl in Iowa that just started vision therapy. I really hope vision therapy helps her like it did me.

(Robin): Dr. Horning suggested that I contact an optometrist that he admires named Dr. Paul Harris. Dr. Harris so graciously agreed to read the manuscript early in the process. He not only endorsed “Jillian’s Story”, but introduced me to many wonderful people including Dr. Sue Barry, who so kindly mentioned “Jillian’s Story” while speaking at the COVD Annual Meeting. We are finding so many great people willing to lend their support to Jillian’s goal of spreading the word that vision therapy really works.

Thanks for answering these questions and sharing so much! Do you have anything else you want to say?

(Jillian): Thank you, Dr. Nate, for sharing my story!

(Robin): Yes, thank you so much. We hope “Jillian’s Story” will be a strong advocate for vision therapy. Orders can be made at Please email us your thoughts and comments at or Anyone wishing to receive a volume discount can have information sent to them on the 50 pack (20% discount) and 100 pack (30% discount) specials by emailing us for the special website ordering link. You will receive an email response with the link to a PayPal discount pack ordering page.

See It. Say It. Do It! Interview with Dr. Hellerstein

see it say it do it

The last new book that really got me excited was Susan Barry’s, “Fixing My Gaze.” It is a unique book about how and why vision therapy works. I was fortunate enough to interview Dr. Barry about her book.

Well, now there is another book out that I am equally excited about. It is called, “See It. Say It. Do It!” and is written by my friend and colleague, Dr. Lynn F. Hellerstein. I know that the subject, developing visualization ability to improve overall performance and quality of life, was a long-time interest of Dr. Hellerstein, and I was interested to see how this would be treated in a book format.

Like “Fixing My Gaze,” this new book is very easy to read and is accessible to anyone with interest. I have given away several copies to patients and friends, and they have agreed that this is useful to anyone who wants to improve their life and abilities. You can read what Edna, our Vision Therapist, had to say about it here.

So, I am thankful that Dr. Hellerstein took some time from her busy schedule to answer some questions about ” See It. Say It. Do It!” Continue reading

A New Book – See It. Say It. Do It.

“If you imagine it, you can achieve it. If you dream it, you can become it.”- William Arthur Ward

How many times have we seen the impossible become possible through a simple thought or dream? Can you imagine all the possibilities and opportunities that would open up in your life just by taking one small step towards your dream or goal?

In Dr. Lynn F. Hellerstein’s book, See It. Say It. Do It!, she reinforces this concept of visualization. By teaching a child to visualize first, then to verbally affirm that goal as if he has already achieved it, and finally to take the necessary actions to accomplishing that goal, you are giving that child invaluable tools that will last him his whole lifetime. You will have instilled a self-confidence that would ensure him to become successful in any area of his life.

It sounds so simple, and yet we don’t even realize what an impact it could actually have in our daily lives. Some of us already use visualization and don’t even know it, but we don’t use visualization to its full potential. But if we start now , we can teach ourselves, children, and others how such a simple, yet powerful concept can truly alter people’s lives forever.

Dr. Hellerstein shows us how easily we can learn and teach visualization techniques by giving us step-by-step instructions and fun activities that can be utilized in any age group. If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, or even in your own, then you need to read this book and discover for yourself just how powerful your visualization can be for you!

Edna Moore, Vision Therapist

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Westchase, Tampa, FL
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“Fixing My Gaze” One of Amazon’s Top 10 Science Books for 2009


I’ve been a big fan of Susan Barry ever since I first read about her in The New Yorker several years ago. I was an even bigger fan after her book “Fixing My Gaze” was published this year. As a neuroscientist and educator, she has written a very accessible book about her remarkable experience with vision therapy as an adult.

I’ve become so enamored with “Fixing My Gaze” that I have shared many copies with friends, held an online contest to give a the book as a prize, and even interviewed Dr. Barry. So I was delighted to see this morning that the book has been selected as the #4 top science book by for 2009. This is very fitting, due to the easy-reading style of a very complex and fascinating subject.

Congrats to Dr. Barry for the well-deserved praise for a fine piece of work!

Dr. Nate

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

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My New Social Media Reading List

The other day I downloaded Chris Brogan and Julian Smith’sTrust Agents” to listen to in the car on my way to and from work. I don’t remember where, but I had heard some positive things and wanted to check it out.

I’m about halfway through and liking it so much, that I wanted to establish a social media reading list. I just read Tribes, by Seth Godin on recommendation from Julia Gorzka and I already knew that I wanted to read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It” next, but what after that?

So did a very informal poll on Twitter and here are the tweets I received:

@JuliaGorzka: Post Tribes Reading List: Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernhoff. Lots of great examples.

@JuliaGorzka: Re-Imagine by Tom Peters, currently reading & loving Re-Imagine by Tom Peters

@tweetmaker: Serious about SMM? Read @google (Kaushik Avinash) blog and peruse Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” frequently.

When I joked that I probably wasn’t *that* serious….

@tweetmaker: My thrust: Insights about how one might approach & leverage SMM abound in sources where no direct mention of SMM exists.

@social_forces: Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” and Godin’s “Ideavirus” for a 1-2 punch?

I mentioned I hadn’t heard of “Ideavirus”

@social_forces: It’s a fine read. What Godin lacks vs Gladwell’s eloquence, he makes up 4 w/ practical application. Like a “how to” for tipping pts.

@missdestructo Hmm. How To Win Friends and Influence People is a good start…. then as far as SM goes, I love Trust Agents.

@GiftsTV current ones I’m reading – Word of Mouth Marketing – Andy Sernovitz and Six Pixels of Seperation – Mitch Joel – others you found :)?

@lizzharmon: That’s tough. Hard to narrow it down to 2: Trust Agents & Tribes; also Socialnomics & Twitter Power. I read a lot.

@lizzharmon: I think I’d add Groundswell and anything by Brian Solis.

@chrisbrogan: The New Community Rules by @tamar, and Six Pixels of Separation by @mitchjoel

And my favorite…..

@NetWeave BTW, I know some folks will disagree heartily with me, that’s just my opinion.I believe that any book on SM is obsolete by the time the ink dries. Spend your reading time on @Mashable, @TechCrunch, etc.

So there you go. That should keep you busy until the new year. And by then you’ll have a bunch more to read.

If you have other suggestions of read books, please leave a comment so I can add them to the list.

Happy Reading.

Dr. Nate

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

Dr Nate Google PlusBright Eyes Tampa on Google PlacesBright Eyes Tampa on FacebookBright Eyes Tampa on TwitterBright Eyes Tampa on YelpBright Eyes Tampa on foursquareWestchase Patch

Question for Tampa Kids: What Books do You Love?

qmAs far as I am concerned, the coolest thing a kid can be spotted with is a book. It doesn’t really matter if it is Harry Potter or my daughter’s current favorite, “Llama Llama Red Pajama.”

Now that we have the new kid’s area, we need to fill our kid’s library! What books are popular for kids 12 and under right now? If two of your children saw a stack of books, which one would they fight over?

Please submit a comment, tweet @brightetestampa, or email with any suggestions, so we can have the best stocked kids library in Westchase!

Thanks in advance!

Be Well.

Dr. Nate

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

Dr Nate Google PlusBright Eyes Tampa on Google PlacesBright Eyes Tampa on FacebookBright Eyes Tampa on TwitterBright Eyes Tampa on YelpBright Eyes Tampa on foursquareWestchase Patch

Interview with Susan Barry, author of “Fixing My Gaze”

FMGAs readers of this blog and those that follow us on Twitter know, there is an exciting book was recently been published about a woman who achieved great success with vision therapy at age 48. It is called “Fixing My Gaze” by Susan Barry, Ph.D. It has been very popular and at one point was the 367th most sold book on

When the book was released, I pre-ordered copies for my office. I read it and had the staff read it. I loved the way Dr. Barry writes and her accessibility. In fact, I liked it so much that I recently held an online contest to give a copy away.

Well, the contest caught the attention of “Stereo Sue”, as she is nicknamed, and she graciously agreed to an online interview.

Dr. B: Dr. Barry, thank you so much for being participating in this interview. I know that vision therapy programs can vary tremendously from patient to patient. How long was your office therapy with Dr. Ruggiero?

Sue: I had about 12 months of office therapy spread over one and one-half years.

How long before you saw definitive progress?

I began to see progress within the first month. My gaze appeared more stable and I began to notice pockets of space between objects.

Regardless of whether a patient is 5, 45, or 95 years old, vision therapy can be a lot of work. Was it hard to stay motivated?

Yes and no. The changes in my vision encouraged me to continue. I also saw myself as my own experiment and liked thinking about how I was changing my vision and what changes were occurring in my brain. The most important thing I did to keep motivated was to keep a journal of how far I could go with each procedure. This taught me that I was making progress even during the weeks when I felt that nothing was happening. My vision therapists were extremely encouraging and fun to work with. My optometrist, Dr. Theresa Ruggiero, was always so positive that she made me feel like I was 10 feet tall.

In “Fixing My Gaze” you mention several vision therapy activities such as Marsden Ball, Brock String and Vectograms. Is there one activity that was your favorite?

My favorite activity was the Brock string because it gave me the feedback to learn how to point my two eyes simultaneously at the same place in space. I could feel my eyes moving in concert and this was very exciting. The first time I saw stereo depth in the Polaroid vectograms – it was the clown vectogram – was also very special.

Now that you’ve had stereopsis for several years, do you find yourself at times taking it for granted as most people do?

No. My vision continues to improve and I have taken to walking everywhere just so I can feel myself moving through this three dimensional world. I am still surprised by what I can see. One advantage, I suppose, of not having stereovision for half a century is that I never take my vision for granted. I feel like I have been given a great gift.

You did such a marvelous job making the book accessible to many people from laypeople to doctors and scientists. Did you find that difficult to do, or did it come naturally?

I am a college biology professor and enjoy teaching, especially finding straightforward ways to explain complicated things. I learned this from my mother who was also a teacher. I also learned a great deal about vision from the many optometrists I spoke with.

Several people have commented on the readability of the book. What steps did you take to achieve this?

I made the decision about the font. I told the publisher that I wanted the book printed in Garamond font at the largest acceptable font size and spacing between letters, words, and lines. I was concerned that the people who might find the book interesting and beneficial are also the ones with difficulties tracking the letters on the page. The Harry
Potter books (which I loved) are printed in Garamond font, and one of the people I mention in my book had told me that he found Harry Potter easy to read because of the font and spacing. Also, my father, now 86, was a calligrapher and graphic designer and so I asked his advice about the fonts as well. He told me that the font should have some serifs (the little curley cues around the letters) as Sans Serif can be hard to read. However, the font should not be too complicated. We got out his old font books and looked over many different fonts and agreed that Garamond would work. I was very happy that the publisher honored my wishes here.

Thank you for writing “Fixing My Gaze.” My colleagues and I are very happy about it. Have you been surprised at its reception?

I never expected my book to be embraced so enthusiastically by so many people from people with binocular vision problems to scientists to optometrists.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you’d like add before we go?

I hope my book will teach people that the brain is capable of rewiring at any age, will broadcast the importance and effectiveness of optometric vision therapy, and will help many children as they progress through school.

I encourage all my readers to read “Fixing My Gaze.” You can get it at any bookstore or on Alternatively, we have office copies that we are lending to patients. If you’d like to borrow a copy, just stop by Bright Eyes and ask for one.

Happy Reading,
Dr. Nate

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

Dr Nate Google PlusBright Eyes Tampa on Google PlacesBright Eyes Tampa on FacebookBright Eyes Tampa on TwitterBright Eyes Tampa on YelpBright Eyes Tampa on foursquareWestchase Patch

Update: Here are some links for more information:

Audio Podcast Interview with Susan Barry

Print Q&A with Sue from the New Scientist, June 6, 2009

Sue’s Psychology Today Blog, Eyes on the Brain

Los Angeles Times OpEd

Seeing Through New Eyes

1 84310 800 3I am a sucker for books. When it comes to bookstores, my eyes are bigger than my… free time. I will buy books that are fascinating that I have every intention of finishing, but I just don’t quite find the time.

One recent purchase is Seeing Through New Eyes: Changing the Lives of Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and other Developmental Disabilities through Vision Therapy by Optometrist Melvin Kaplan. I have read other clinical books by Dr. Kaplan and I deeply respect him and his career of helping patients with autism and related conditions.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I stumbled upon this review by a mother who is raising a son with autism (with whom I happen to share the first name “Nate”). I am certain that her review, written from the insider’s perspective, is much more compelling than mine would be, so I encourage you so check out what she has written.

Vision therapy is not the answer for every problem. But vision is so intricately bound to all parts of our lives that many, many people do find benefits from developmental vision care, sometimes in surprising ways.

Be Well!

Dr. Nate

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

You: The Smart Patient

You the Smart Patient I’ll let you in on a little secret: I hate going to the doctor. From scheduling the appointment, to filling out paperwork, to waiting in the small exam room, to trying to get to know my doc in the 7.5 minutes that we spend together, to getting the bill, I dislike it all. (I’ll admit that I dislike it less than buying a car, but I really hate that.)

And I know that I am not alone. Let’s face it: The health care system in this country is complex. Between the different types of doctors and the variability of insurance and vision plans, finding good care can be difficult. To get the best care, you’ve got to be organized. You’ve got to pay attention. And you’ve got to stick up for yourself because, really, no one else is going to do it for you (except maybe your mom).

But this guide can set you off in the right direction. It is an insider’s view that is written by two doctors, Michal Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D., that present info in a light-hearted way that makes it easy to read. It has all kinds of useful references and places to start looking for information. And it can really help you feel confident about certain medical decision, such as second opinions.

I think that this is such a great book that I’m leaving my copy in the waiting area for people to read. You can click here to order your own copy of You, the Smart Patient: An Insider’s Handbook for Getting the Best Treatmentir t brieyenewandu 20 amp l as2 amp o 1 amp a 1416541683 .

Be Well!
Dr. Nate

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


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