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Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in New Tampa FL
Bright Eyes Kids in Westchase Fl

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New Tampa & Westchase

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So Thankful!



Like many families, ours has a tradition of taking time each Thanksgiving of taking time to be appreciative of the many blessings in our lives. For many years our family has gathered in the living room and took turns listing people, organizations, and other things that we are thankful until we reached 100.

While I will not fill this blog with 100 entries, I do want to make a short list of just a few of the many things I am thankul for (in no particualr order):

  • Our Patients – Every day it is such an honor to provide care for you and your family. It is a responsibility that we deeply appreciate. Thank you.
  • Local Professionals – We are thanskful for every doctor, therapist, teacher, or other professional who puts their trust in us when they refer for specailized services such as vision therapy, myopia management, or sports vision. It means the world to us!
  • Bright Eyes Staff – We have grown from a staff of four people to almost 20 and they are such hardworking, pleasant, dedicated people. We would not be able to provide the care we can without them.
  • Cristina – To single one staff member out, Cristina is the office manager and the unsung hero of Bright Eyes. While the doctors get the credit and everyone knows the smiling faces at the front desk, Cristina works day and night to keep Bright Eyes running smoothly.
  • Dr. Beth – Likewise Dr. Beth routinely goes above and beyond to empower both patients and staff. She is smart and creative and helps make everyone around her a better person.
  • Neighborhoods – We are so lucky to have diverse neighborhoods like Westchase and New Tampa to call home and wonderful business neighbors to interact with.
  • People who work with their hands – This year we undertook a major construction project that involved concrete, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, glasswork, and the knowhow to turn all of this into the new Bright Eyes! We are thankful for their very hard and dedicated work.
  • Professional help – Although we all work very hard, the staff and I cannot do it all. We rely on consutlants and other experts to help us run the business properly. We thankful for their advice and expertise.
  • Scientists and Researchers – Every year Dr. Beth and I improve and advance our recommendations and we make these decisions based on new research and publications in scientific journals. Without them we’d either be stuck in a rut or have to make recommendations just by guesswork. Neither would be ideal.

I hope every one of you has a wonderful holiday season with your friends and families and are able to take time to tell special people that you appreciate them.

Thank you!

-Dr. Nate

(PS – I’ve gotten a lot mileage out of that Lego Thanksgiving creation. I should make a new one next year.)

2019 Buddy Walk

Dr. Nate’s Note: We at Bright Eyes enjoy being involved in the community and love to support our patients. This year we were lucky enough to attend the 2019 Buddy Walk at Raymond James Stadium to raise money for F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Down Syndrome West Florida.

Esther Rodas, a member of out optical sales team reflects on her experience.

My experience at the Tampa 2019 Buddy Walk was nothing short of wonderful. Being a part of and witnessing all of the support given to the Down Syndrome community and their loved ones was really heartwarming and awesome to see!

This was my first year attending. The event consisted of wide spectrum of different vendors from our optometric practice to occupational therapy practices, dancing organizations, chiropractic services, employment networking, disability resources, sports groups, mary kay and many many more. There were several activities to raise money such as raffles, snacks/food for sale and donations of course. The top team fundraising ranking came in at: $6,005, while the top individual ranking came in at $320! Again, a lot of support was given and it was great to see. Aside from the supporting vendors and sponsors there was also fantastic entertainment such as dance themes that performed and an amazing performance of our national anthem. There was also an animal petting area for the kids and for animal loving adults as well.

Our practice presented various lines of kids frames that we carry at our clinic. Frames that are incredibly durable for kids, sports goggles, and lines designed specifically for those with special needs. We passed out coupons to use at our practice for those interested in stopping by that may be in need of glasses for their kiddos. We engaged with the various families present, some of which have been Bright Eyes patients for many years. It was a wonderful opportunity and pleasure for us to be able to present to the families present what we have to offer that can help their kids or themselves for that matter!

The day ended with the buddy walk in which we cheered on the families and teams that walked together. We took beautiful pictures of the groups walking together and being cheered on by us all. It was the perfect ending to a great day. I look forward to my future attendance in the buddy walk and certainly look forward to contributing in any way that I can along with my Bright Eyes team.


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Dr. Nate meets with USF Pre-Optometry Society

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Last week, Dr. Nate spent an evening at Bright Eyes Kids with the USF Pre-Optometry Professional Society. The event was arranged by the group’s president, Melissa Kontos who also works at Bright Eyes Family.

The group had a great time discussing optometry school, the life of an optometrist, and practice management. They also covered the specialty services of pediatric vision care, vision therapy, myopia control and more. The students had a chance to experience the Vivid Vision Virtual Reality treatment (below).

Dr. Nate has lectured to the USF POPS group for a decade and always finds it to be a fun and rewarding time.

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Optometrist Barbie!

Recently Stephanie from our favorite toy store, Learning Express at Citrus Park, gave Dr. Nate an amazing present: Optometrists Barbie! Everyone loves it!

It is especially great that the visual acuity chart is the correct, traditional Snellen chart, but just a little smaller. The small ophthalmoscope and phoropter look pretty good, and those glasses are very cute, very trendy and very functional! 🙂

We now keep Optometrist Barbie in the kids eye exam room. This very popular Barbie would make a wonderful Christmas gift for the future eye doctor in the your family!

Optometrist Barbie!

Dr. Nate and Stefanie

From the description:

The Barbie Careers Eye Doctor set brings everything info focus with a special examination chair and eye chart. Eye Doctor Barbie doll can start her workday with the adorable toddler included with the set. . Barbie doll can check her patient’s eyes with the tool that fits on her hand then have her read the stand-up eye chart, that doubles as a display case. If Barbie prescribes glasses, there are four fun pairs for options, from glam heart-shaped frames to modern black frames. Barbie is seeing clearly in glasses of her own that complement her fabulous outfit: a blue printed skirt, black top, black heels and white doctor’s coat. Girls will love exploring the world of optometry with this eye-opening set!


See a very detailed review of Optometrist Barbie, more from the play perspective (not so much the optometrist part) here.



The Brooks Celebrate Life Event

As anyone who has experienced severe trauma knows – it can be devastating for the victim, friends, and family. Many activities that were previously taken for granted can be a frustrating challenge.

Recently, however, Dr. Beth and I were lucky enough to participate in a truly fun and magical event. The Brooks Celebrate Life event, organized by Brooks Rehabilitation and Regional Medical Photo by Connie GarcesCenter Bayonet Point and sponsored by Bioness, was in honor of Trauma Awareness Month.

The evening kicked off with hostess and Physical Therapist Connie Garces sharing information about Brooks Rehabilitation, both the main facility in Jacksonville, FL and the outpatient facility in Hudson, FL where she is Center Manager. She introduced the trauma survivors who were in the audience, signified with large red, white, and blue ribbons. Also recognized were their family members and the rehabilitation specialists who care for them.

Connie Garces is a passionate and wonderfully talented therapist, but the highlight of the event was one of her patients, Bronson. Dressed in a suit, he stood in front of the group and delivered an honest, funny, heartfelt account of his recovery from traumatic brain injury. Public speaking is intimidating for the average person. Bronson was courageous to deliver his talk and willing to get a little help from the audience when he needed it. With multiple notes in front of him, Bronson talked about his recovery, his care, and his young daughter. It was one of the most heart-felt and moving things I have witnessed in a long time.

May 2015 is the 27th observance of Trauma Awareness Month. The American Trauma Society has declared this year’s theme “3D Trauma Prevention” and focuses on contributors to motor vehicle crashes – Drugs/Drinking, Distraction and Drowsiness.

Vision is a critical part of life and it can be an important part of rehabilitation for a survivor of traumatic brain injury. Dr. Beth and I work in conjunction with other professionals to provide visual rehabilitation. It is complex work and some of the rewarding care that we provide. You can learn more about visual rehabilitation here.

-Dr. Nate

(Photo provided courtesy of Connie Garces, PT, DPT, CBIS)


Welcome to Dr. Knighton!

Elizabeth Knighton, OD, FAAOThere are so many changes at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care right now! We have added new services such as vision therapy and ortho-k and we are now opening a new pediatric office in the Tampa Palms area. I am now excited to announce that in order to meet out growing patient demand, we have also added a new doctor, Elizabeth Knighton, OD, FAAO.

Dr. Knighton and I went to the same optometry school, the Illinois College of Optometry. We have both completed a residency in pediatric vision, and I know that she is a strong clinician who has an excellent bedside manner. She fits in very well with the Bright Eyes family, and we are very lucky to have her!

Dr. Knighton received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and completed her Pediatric Optometry residency at the University of Houston College of Optometry where she was trained in pediatric eye disease, working with special-needs patients. She joined the faculty at University of Houston College of Optometry and enjoyed working with students and residents in the pediatric clinics. While in Houston, Dr. Knighton treated patients at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR), a rehabilitation hospital for patients with severe brain injuries. In 2012, Dr. Knighton earned her fellowship of the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Knighton grew up in Clearwater and currently lives in Oldsmar with her husband, Jacob, and their two labradors. She enjoys cycling, sailing and scuba diving.

Stop in to say hello to Dr. Knighton.

Dr. Nate

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care

Bright Eyes Supports Little Strides Fitness

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At Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, we love kids, community, and health. And that is why we are a big supporter of Little Strides Fitness! Little Strides Fitness is a Westchase-based enrichment program offered in schools around the Tampa Bay area. The age-appropriate lessons promote fitness, wellness, and fun. They emphasize the following areas:

Fitness – fundamentals to develop motor skills, coordination, balance and strength.

Wellness – lessons teach basics in nutrition, safety and other healthy habits.

Fun – the right combination of activities allow kids to laugh, play and just be kids.

I think this is wonderful, because being outside and being active is an important aspect of having a healthy, normally-developed vision system. Reading books and using digital devices can provide excellent brain stimulation, but there is no substitute for good ole’ outdoor fun. That is why Bright Eyes has sponsored one of the Little Strides Kickball teams.

Research has shown that spending time outdoors is helpful in limiting worsening eye glasses prescriptions. So spending time outside playing kickball is a great idea.

But the Florida sun is bright and you want to be protected from UV rays. So wear sunscreen and sunglasses! To help out, Bright Eyes donated sunglasses to all the Little Strides Kickball players. Here is a picture of Team Bright Eyes sporting their shades. Here is a Vine of Team Bright Eyes in action.

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Little Stride Team Bright Eyes


And don’t forget! Sunday, August 4th is the Great Glasses Play Day! Tons of activities for kids (and grown-ups!). Free sunglasses (like those above) for all kids!

All the best!

Dr. Nate

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
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Bright Eyes at the Tampa Homeschool Conference

FPEAOn Saturday, July 21, Bright Eyes joined the Tampa Bay Homeschool Conference as an exhibitor, promoting children’s eye exams. Dr. Nate and Cristina spoke with many concerned parents and educational professionals, and even a few of our patients. We answered a variety of questions, such as “When should my child have their first eye exam?” and “My child is struggling with reading – Could it be a vision problem?“.

Answer #1: Now! The American Optometric Association recommends regular eye exams starting at age 1, but definitely by age 5.

Answer #2: Yes, but you will only find out when you have your child’s eyes checked by a children or family specialist.

The conference, sponsored by the Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) included a variety of instructional and inspirational workshops, and an exhibit hall full of book vendors and local businesses that offer specialty services for homeschool families. I think we were able to encourage a lot of families to seek eye care in their areas! And we had a great time. We look forward to participating in future homeschool conferences and encouraging parents to have their children’s eyes
checked regularly.

Kids Day at Oleston Chiropractic

When I heard that my friend Dr. Carrie Oleston of Oleston Chiropractic was holding an event for kids, I was intrigued. I will admit that though many of my patients have told me that their children have benefited from chiropractic care, I don’t know a great deal about it. So I encouraged Dr. Oleston to send me some information on the event to share with others. -Dr. Nate

Often, we are asked about children and chiropractic care. It is absolutely safe for a child to receive chiropractic treatment. Your chiropractor is trained to adjust his or her procedures to specifically fit each child’s size, age, weight and spinal health. In many instances, children actually look forward to treatment and enjoy their time with the doctor.

According to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), children can benefit from chiropractic care. The birth process may be one of the most traumatic events of our lives. Even so-called “natural” birthing methods can stress a still-developing spine. The resulting irritation to the nervous system can be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Colic, unexplained crying, poor appetite, breathing problems, and allergic reactions can often be traced to nervous system dysfunction caused by a malfunctioning spine.

Dr. Oleston will conduct a thorough examination of your child and determine what course of action should be taken. She will also make sure to include you, the parent, in every step of the process. Dr. Oleston is a member of the ICPA and has the proper training to treat your child.

On Saturday, June 16th, Oleston Chiropractic will be having a Kids’ Day event!

For kids ages 0-18!

A great opportunity to have your child’s spine checked! Chiropractic can help stomach, teething, colic, headaches, bed wetting, leg cramps, attitude, trauma, ear aches, colds and adaptation to growth! ALSO, any current pediatric patient of Dr. Oleston will receive a Chiropractic adjustment at no charge!


For more information regarding children and chiropractic treatment, feel free to call Dr. Oleston at 813-443-0504 or email them at Dr. Oleston will be happy to discuss the alternatives for all ages of children!



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