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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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The Bright Eyes Patient Map!

 

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Did you know that we help patients from all over the world? Sometimes patients make the trip just to see us for specialty services. Sometimes they come for Florida vacation and tack on an eye exam. 🙂 For years we have kept a digital map showing wearing patients come from.

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We have a new display at Bright Eyes: a world map with pins showing where everyone one is from. All the areas around the country that patients have come from.

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The different services we provide are indicated by color coded pins.

 

We can’t wait to fill up the map! If you come from somewhere without a pin, be sure and add one! And if you are from out of town, you check out the page that we have just for you.

 

-Dr. Nate

 

Bright Eyes Needs Kids Art!!

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At Bright Eyes Family Vision Care and Bright Eyes Kids, we love to celebrate the creativity of our young patients!

When you walk in the front door, you are greeted with a display of different kinds of artwork. We currently have drawings of monsters, a painting of the US flag and well as some Pokemon. There is also a gift to Dr. Nate in Simpson-ized fashion and a Lego Mosaic that Dr. Nate did of a close up of an eye. Below we have a display line packed with crayon drawings of our very youngest patients.

We need to freshen up our children’s art display with your kid’s work!

See if your children would like to donate:

  • Original drawings
  • Creative paintings
  • Collages
  • Lego mosaics
  • Anything else you can think of!

All you have to do is drop of the work at Bright Eyes Kids (15303 Amberly Drive). If the work is frameable, we frame it before hanging it up. If not, we’ll do our best. Be sure to let us know who to give credit to! Don’t give us anything too precious, because we cannot promise that we will be able to return it in the future.

You know that your kids are artistic geniuses – let them show off their work!!

Thanks

-Dr. Nate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myopia Awareness Week: May 24 – 28

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You may have noticed that children’s vision and myopia have been in the news a lot. The New York Times. CNBC. So many others. This is in part due to the concerns over changes in behavior during the pandemic. Not only have many children been E-learning, but even children who are at brick-and-mortar schools are using devices more and been outside less. Research shows this puts them at higher risk for developing myopia.

Just to be clear. “Nearsightedness” is the description we give where people can see up close but not far away. “Myopia” is the condition where the eye grows too long, causing nearsightedness and risk for eye diseases.

The Brien Holden Vision Institute, the preeminent organization for myopia research and education based in Australia, has established the Myopia Awareness Week from May 24 to 28. This global initiative will to bring attention to the growing epidemic of myopia in children across the world. This is an important topic because myopia is worsening around the world. It is estimated that by 2050, half of the population will be myopic.

MAW21 Image 7Fortunately, there is good news. Evidence has shown that increased outdoor time decreases the risk for myopia. Recently the FDA approved MiSight 1-Day contact lenses for controlling myopia progression. Johnson & Johnson has very recently announced their FDA Abiliti orthokeratology brand. Essilor announced that the FDA has granted “Breakthrough Device” designation to its Essilor Stellest™ spectacle lens which are developed to correct myopia and slow down the progression of myopia in children. Additionally, off-label of multifocal contacts, orthokeratology, and atropine are all considerations for myopia control.

Summer is the best time to get students ready for the next school year. I see many children whose myopia has progressed a lot this year, and they are unaware of it. An eye exam is necessary to determine this. If you have questions about myopia management, simply call us at (813) 792-0637 or request an appointment.

One positive note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was honored to complete my Fellowship in the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control. This makes me one of the few optometrists in the world with Fellowship in American Academy of Optometry, Academy, Orthokeratology and Myopia Control, and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

 

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Myopia Control Showcase!

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Some of the most notable images in the office are the Success Trees. These are handprints from the graduates of the Vision Therapy program. Patients are so proud to add their hands to the trees when they complete the program. And they should be! They’ve worked hard.

We want to do something similar for all of our hundreds of Myopia Control Patients. What we envision is a wall with pictures of children and adults who are successfully using ortho-k, atropine, or daily contact lenses. The goal is to both recognize you or your child, but also so other families can see that there is something that something CAN BE DONE about children’s vision and glasses free-vision.

Here are two ways you can help:

1) Help us decide what to call it?

  • Wall of Fame?
  • Myopia Superstars?
  • Bright Eyes Myopia Spectacle! ( get it? )
  • Something else?

2) Submit a picture of you or your child! They can be doing anything, but it is more fun if they are doing something that they love. We’ll frame it and post on the wall with all the others.

With your picture, let us know:

  • if we can use their first name, a nickname, or “A happy Bright Eyes patient” for a caption.
  • A quote about what they like about their myopia/orthok treatment.
  • if we have permission to share on social media as well.

Thank you!!!

I am very excited about this project. Let me know your questions or concerns!

-Dr. Nate and the Bright Eyes Team

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Dr. Nate and Cristina’s kids are both myopia control patients!

Bright Eye Wins “Best Practice” Award from CooperVision!

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Dr. Nate, Dr. Beth, and Cristina are proud to announce that Bright Eyes Family Vision Care has been honored with the 2021 CooperVision Best Practices donation! In the photo above, you can see the Bright Eye staff showing off the new plaque. This award is very meaningful because it shows how strong our passion is for our patients and their care. Every year CooperVision’s Best Practices program highlights optometric practices in the U.S. that advance the profession through innovation, industry leadership, and exceptional patient experience.

As CooperVision explains:

“Every year, we seek eye care practices who have tackled the profession’s challenges head on. But when we launched the Best Practices program, we never could have imagined a year like 2020 and the impact it would have on optometry. We weren’t sure what we would see in this year’s applications,” said Michele Andrews, OD, Vice President of Professional and Government Affairs, North America, CooperVision. “The stories we received were remarkable. It has been a true testament to the strength and resiliency of eye care professionals—that they have not only made it through the hardships associated with the pandemic, but that they have embraced them to make their practices stronger than ever. And they’re ready to share their secrets to success for the benefit of others. I’m so proud to partner with these new honorees.”

This is a great way for us to start 2021 off strong! We are ready for bigger and better things in the future!

-Dr. Nate

 

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Allergy Season is Upon Us!

Are your eyes red and itchy right now just in the last few weeks? It might be due to all the pollen in air. It might be allergies!

What are ocular allergies?

allergiesWhen our eyes are exposed to substances like pollen, animal dander or mold spores, they can become red, itchy and watery. These are symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, which is an eye inflammation caused by allergic reaction.

Some people experience acute allergic conjunctivitis, which is a short-term inflammation that is more common during allergy season. The eyelids suddenly swell, itch and burn.

Less commonly, some people experience chronic allergic conjuncitvitis, which is a long-term allergic reaction that can be present year-round. The response is typically milder, with symptoms that come and go, including burning, itching and light sensitivity.

 

Minimize your exposure to allergens

  • Close the windows and limit outdoor time when the pollen count is high.
  • Wear a hat and/or sunglasses outdoors to limit exposure to airborne pollen.
  • Keep your home dust-free.
  • Use an indoor air purifier.
  • Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals, dyes and perfumes.
  • Take shower at night to rinse away pollen from hair and skin before sleep.
  • Wash pillow cases frequently, as pollen from your hair and body can collect on this surface near your eyes.

Use a cold compress

A cool moist washcloth can be placed over the eyes several times a day to relieve swelling and symptoms.

 

Keep your eyes hydrated

Dry eyes magnify the symptoms of ocular allergies because the eyelids cause friction with the front surfaces of the eye.

 

Ocular Allergy Medications

Your primary care doctor may recommend an oral or over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce or block histamine release or anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Avoid Visine: It contains an ingredient (Naphazoline) that can cause a rebound effect and the eyes look more red in the long-term, so avoid these products.

Ocular Antihistamines: These medicines reduce symptoms by chemically blocking the allergic reaction. Alaway, Zaditor and Pataday are over-the-counter medications that can be used daily for ocular allergies. Prescription ocular antihistamines are also available.

Ocular Anti-inflammatories: When other treatments are inadequate, your doctor may prescribe steroid eye drops to relieve symptoms. These medications must be used under supervision of your doctor because they can cause elevated pressure inside the eye, which can lead to vision damage.

 

Can I still wear my contact lenses?

Allergens collect on the surfaces of the contact lenses, which can lead to decreased comfort. If you experience redness, burning or watering, immediately remove your contact lenses and clean them. If symptoms continue, remove the contacts and call the office.

If your contact lenses are uncomfortable, you and your doctor may discuss other options such as:

  • Wearing glasses during high pollen count or allergy season.
  • Switching to a hydrogen peroxide contact lens cleaning system (ClearCare or AquaClear) to deeply clean the proteins and deposits off the contacts.
  • Switching to a daily disposable contact lens, minimizing buildup of allergens on the lens and reducing symptoms.

If you have any questions or concerns, call our office at 813-792-0637.

Bright Eyes Doctors Complete COVID-19 Vaccination

At Bright Eyes, we take the health of our staff and patients very seriously. It is for this reason that we have been very cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic. In spring of 2020 we closed for several weeks for all but urgent care. Since reopening, we have taken significant precautions to limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, we have been diligent in establishing quarantine of any staff member or patient that may be at risk.

We are now pleased to announce that both Dr. Nate and Dr. Beth have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Our office manager, Cristina, has received her first dose and will receive the second shortly. We will encourage staff to get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them.

Since no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing the possibility of contracting or spreading COVID-19, we will continue all precautions as recommended by the CDC and other relevant agencies. This includes the wearing of facemasks and social distancing. But we are happy that more people are becoming vaccinated and we encourage you to talk with your doctor, educate yourself, and if appropriate get the vaccination when it becomes available to you.

Wishing you the best in 2021!

-Dr. Nate

@brighteyestampaGet yours! ##covid19 ##vaccine ##savelives♬ It’s Corona Time – Chumino

Dr. Nate Earns Fellowship in the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control

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I am excited to share that I am now a full-fledged Fellow of The International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control (IAOMC), a non-profit organization of practitioners and academics devoted to the science and education of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control. Since I have offered myopia management options for over a decade, becoming a Fellow has long been a goal of mine.

  • Ortho-K (short for Orthokeratology) is a non-surgical procedure using specially designed contact lenses to gently reshape the curvature of the eye to improve vision.
  • Myopia is a progressive visual disorder that results in poor distance vision. If the myopia is severe, it will impair near vision as well. Myopia is also known as “near-sighted” or “Short-sighted”.” Options exist to help limit the progression of myopia as a child grows.

 

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According to the Academy, these are qualities of a Fellow:

  • Fellows have undergone advanced training and rigorous testing to demonstrate their level of expertise in myopia control and orthokeratology
  • A Fellow is the gold standard and represents the highest level of knowledge, ethics and patient care in the myopia control.
  • Fellows serve as mentors and role models for other practitioners as well as the general public.

This was a year-long process which included presenting multiple complex case reports, passing both written and oral exams. The exams were supposed to take place at the annual meeting in Seattle in April, but the meeting was canceled due to COVID -19 and the testing process had to be completed remotely.

There are approximately 150 Fellows of the The International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control around the world. And I am one of only a handful that have earned 3 fellowships in the International Academy of Orthokeratology, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, and the American Academy of Optometry.

I have learned a great deal in the process of becoming a fellow and I look forward to using this knowledge to better help my patients.

-Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO, FCOVD, FIAOMC

E-learning Without Eyestrain: Guide for Visual Health For Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

TL;DR: If your child is e-learning, be proactive to help prevent vision problems. If your child appears to be having screen-related eye fatigue, see your optometrist first and discuss it – your child may have underlying problems made worse by excessive screen time.

(Downloadable PDF of this guide can be found here.)

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Credit: Sandra Schoen

There is one topic that comes up over and over in the exam room right now and that is school. Let’s face it, school is challenging this year for everyone – students, parents, teachers, administrators, and everyone who knows any of these people. Every child’s case is unique and they need to do what is best for them. I get a lot of questions about vision specifically from parents whose children are e-learning.

I know this well, because not only do I help my patients every day, I have two e-learners of my own: Nora, an 8th grader, and Javier, a 5th grader. As a family, we are experiencing this right now!

E-learning can be the most visually stressful type of education because it is a set schedule of screen use for a large portion of the day, every day. In a classroom setting, there is a lot moving around and looking up at the board and at friends to provide visual novelty. In a Virtual School and homeschool setting, the schedule can be much more flexible to allow for visual breaks. Teachers are working as hard as they can right now, but they are not children’s vision experts.

Based on my knowledge of children’s vision and the research I have done, I list some helpful guidelines below to ensure that your children can get the most out of E-learning this fall, without as much eyestrain.

Why is this important?

For many years, Optometrists have helped office workers who suffered from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a collection of eye and vision problems related to excessive computer use. It was originally thought that CVS was an adult problem, but now research has shown that children can (and do!) experience this problem, too. This can be compounded by the increased screen time and the general stress of e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common symptoms from long-term computer use are:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

It is not hard to imagine how any or all of these can make learning difficult for a child who has to be in front of a computer or laptop most of the week.

What can you do?

1. Have The Right Set up

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Nora’s Workstation

My personal preference for my children is that their workstations are in public areas of the house, like the living room and dining room. This has several advantages. One is that we can easily check on them and help them if needed. Another is that it is a psychological distinction of their “work area” from their “personal area.” Also, it is just nice to see our kids during the day. 🙂

  • Selecting a screen – Bigger is better! The larger the screen, the easier it is to focus on details.
  • Screen settings – Often selecting 110% or 125% magnification helps. Also, white print on black background can be more comfortable.
  • Position the screen – Position the center of screen straight ahead so head doesn’t need to tilt back or to side. Position screen further back on the desk. Allow for at least Elbow Distance from the eyes to screen.
  • Chairs – should be firm with back support.
  • Foot rest – If the child’s feet can’t touch the ground, a foot rest can stabilize them.
  • Lighting – You don’t want it to be too dark or too bright. Being near a window is great for natural light, as long as the direct sun is not shining in the child’s eyes or directly on the screen.
  • Water – Designate a place for a water bottle or cup so kids stay hydrated.
  • Clutter – Keeping the environment clear of visual distraction can help your child focused on class content.

Here is a cute comic about setting up a work station for kids.

 

2. Posture

We all know that it can be difficult to get kids to maintain any particular position, specifically if they are little. However, showing them the proper posture and reminding them often can go a long way to helping them stay comfortable during work.

Here are recommendations for efficient posture for kids at the computer.

  • Their back should be against the chair for support.
  • The chair seat should not compress behind the knees and cut off circulation.
  • Their feet should rest firmly on a floor or footrest (no dangling)
  • The head should be balanced on neck (not tilted back or too far forwards)
  • The upper arms close to body and relaxed
  • The elbow should angle >90° (forearm below horizontal)
  • The wrist should be neutral (not flexed)

(Adapted from Workstation Ergonomics Guidelines for Computer Use by Children.)

Here is an illustration from the American Optometric Association: Body Posture AdobeStock 144114992

3. Do Children Need Computer Glasses?

For adults like me who have “joined the club”, we need glasses to see small print up close. Children, however, have more visual focusing ability so they don’t usually complain of not being able to see the screen. However, many children do have functional issues and benefit from wearing glasses at the computer.

Some of these conditions are:

  • Refractive problems – Conditions such as farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism can make it more difficult to see the screen. Even a low prescription can cause a child to have headaches if they are not wearing eyeglasses.
  • Focusing problems – If children’s eyes do not focus accurately on the screen, glasses can help make it easier. Having glasses can make the difference between working comfortably and headaches and blurry vision.
  • Rapid Fatigue – Some children can see the screen clearly for the first 15 or 20 minutes then start to lose interest because they can’t sustain focus on it.
  • Convergence problems – Some children have issues where their eyes either tend to over-converge (tend to turn in) or under-converge (don’t turn in enough). In both instances having the right glasses helps keep the image of the screen clear and single and makes reading easier.
  • Specialized prescriptions – Some children have unique vision problems and require alternate prescriptions such as prism or bifocals, these should definitely be taken into account.

 

4. What About Blue Light?!?

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Javier’s Workstation

Blue light is a very popular topic in 2020. As I tell patients, it really is the Wild West right now when it comes to blue light protection and companies can say just about anything to sell their lenses. We need more scientific study in this area about which frequencies of light matter, how much filtering is needed, and what are the effects. But after following the research for years, I can say these things:

  • There is very little reason to think that light from computers and devices is going to cause permanent eye disease. (UV light from the sun is a much, much greater concern and that is why we recommend UV-blocking sunglasses for all ages.)
  • Blue light can interfere with circadian rhythm and sleep cycles. There absolutely is evidence that blue light exposure especially at night will affect sleep . The best bet is no screen use a couple of hours before bedtime. But if that is not possible, then blue light protection in glasses, as well as night-mode device settings, can help.
  • There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that patients have less eyestrain and fatigue by limiting the scatter of blue light. The only people who seems to dislike blue light filters are people who need to see colors extremely precisely, such as a digital designer.

In short, I do not believe that every single person requires blue light blocking glasses. I think it can help some people feel more comfortable. If your child appears to be having screen-related fatigue see your optometrist first and discuss it – there may be other visual problems that should be addressed first.

For many patients (including children) a low prescription to reduce fatigue, as well as blue light filter and anti-glare treatment, can be the best combination for reducing eyestrain in front of the computer. Buying a blue light filter is only one part of reducing visual eyestrain. At Bright Eyes and most optometry offices, we can custom make the best glasses for your child!

5. Taking Breaks.

If using digital devices is the problem, then stopping using them is part of the solution. Optometrists refer to proper working distance and taking breaks as “visual hygiene” – like dental hygiene but for your visual comfort. Keep in mind, looking away from the computer only to check messages on a phone doesn’t really count as a visual break! The important thing to remember is that breaking up long sessions into shorter sessions helps a lot to release tension in the eyes. There are some suggestions that are helpful.break time

  • Before classes start – Do a few deep blinks and eye stretches (we often call these Eye Yoga)
  • 20/20/20 Rule – Every twenty minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds This lets the focus of the eyes relax.
  • 1/5 Rule – Every hour take at least a 5 minute break and move around. This wakes these eyes, body, and brain up, especially if they go outside (see #6).

I know that you do not have perfect control of your children’s schedule, but by setting reminders you can try to develop these habits. (See Dr. Beth’s video below.)

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6. Getting Outdoors!

What is even better than looking out a window? Actually getting outside and moving around. Children’s brains (and mood!) function better with some good old physical activity. When I am at home with my e-learning kids, I make a point of scheduling a time for us all to go for a run together, but this is not always possible (darn rain!). Even if they can’t exercise, just being outdoors is great for them. The change of scenery will help break up the routine.

Even if it just a short walk of the dog, or just standing in the yard or back porch, there are big visual benefits. First, the eyes get to fully relax when they look very far away. Instead of the space of just 5 or 10 feet in the room, outside we can 100 or 1000 feet away. Second, the natural light contains the full spectrum of light frequencies. Also, we tend to blink a lot more when we are outside moving around than we are just looking at a screen “in the zone” of e-learning. This keeps the eyes moist and comfortable. And there is a lot of research that shows that taking young children outside is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of them becoming myopic (nearsighted).

Of course, if you are outside in sun, wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV light!

 

7. When To Check With Your Children’s Eye Doctor.

Extensive computer use more difficult for all patients, but some children are at greater risk. Here are some situations when you should schedule an eye and vision evaluation for your child who is e-learning:

  • Pre-existing visual problems – If your child has on-going visual dysfunction, definitely have an evaluation and discuss all the options to limit the visual stress of e-learning.
  • Symptoms – Any symptoms of fatigue or eyestrain should be evaluated.
  • Overdue – Many patients are overdue for visits due to offices being closed in the spring. Children’s vision can change extremely rapidly, so we recommend annual exams for children in school. This is especially true if they are e-learning.

I want to highlight one specific symptom – blurry vision when looking far away. This can happen for several reasons but there are 2 important reasons to consider:

  1. Recently developed myopia (AKA nearsightedness).
  2. Eyestrain up-close is causing a focusing spasm (a red flag)

Both of these are on the rise around the world generally due to increased screen time and decreased outdoor time. Both of them have management options that can reduce future problems, including good habits, glasses, and vision therapy. Make sure you discuss this with your child’s eye doctor at their appointment.

Conclusion

And that’s it. I know it was kind of long, but it is important. As different as it is from classroom education, e-learning can be be very effective. And it certainly is beneficial in social distancing and keeping everyone safer from COVID-19. With the information above you can help make sure that e-learning does not cause vision problems as well.

Good luck this year! We are cheering for you. If we can help in any way, please reach out at brighteyestampa.com or (813) 792-0637.

-Dr. Nate

 

 

Binocular Evaluation Testing Information

Because the Binocular Vision Evaluation is somewhat different that a standard eye exam, we have created a document to help you understand the different parts of the test, what they look like, and what we hope to learn from them.

You can download the document here​ to review ahead of time or during the evaluation. ​We have found that this helps parents understand much more about the testing that their child is experiencing.

Let us know if you have any questions.

-Dr. Nate and Dr. BethCapture

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Read this Important Information About COVID-19 and Bright Eyes!