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Bright Eyes Kids in Westchase Fl

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Patient Spotlight

Myopia Control Showcase!



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!

Patient Spotlight: Jon and Robotics

When I was in middle school, I built a calculator with the help of my grandfather. There was no kit, but I had to figure out how to wire about 20 integrated circuits together. Although it could only add the numbers 1, 2 and 3, I thought it was very cool.

Well, the students are way beyond calculators! This month’s Patient Spotlight is about Jon and how he and his team design robots for competition. It is astoundingly cool! It makes me wonder what my kids will be doing in 15 years? The Biotech Team? Nano Club? – Dr. Nate

Dr. Nate: What are the robotics competitions like?

Jon: The robotics competitions are very hectic but lots of fun. They start out a little slow but they eventually get more exciting as the day progresses. It is kind of like watching Inception but without any dreaming.

Jon’s mom: These competitions involve rules and challenges set annually on a national level on “fields” that are designed differently each year and all the students involved have to follow a strict set of rules and figure out how to finish the challenge course within a 2 minute 40 second period of time and get the most points. They are also expected to exhibit “gracious professionalism” throughout the event. The first part of the challenge is autonomous, in other words the kids have to program the bots to complete the first 40 seconds of the match to perform “hands free”. Final 2 minutes of each match has 2 “drivers” for each bot, using a game control type device to maneuver the course.

How has your team done this year?Robotics Team Minataur

Jon: My team has done extremely well this year. We have won two competitions so far (only one is required for state. Plus we hosted a competition at our school and we staffed it which also qualifies us for state). We have made some alterations to our robot but for the most part we kept it the same.

How did you get interested in robotics?

Jon: I got interested in robots when I was going into 6th grade. That summer to be precise. I took a robotics camp that was one week long at East Lake High School. There we built robots using Tetrix pieces (a type of robot building kit) and the guts of a remote controlled car. That’s only part of it because in 7th grade I took a robotics class and built a robot using Lego Mindstorms NXT pieces.

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Patient Spotlight: Mark Regan

I first became aware of Mark when he checked in to Bright Eyes on foursquare. In fact, as he held down the mayorship for about 6 weeks, I got to know him better and was always interested in his ideas about social media and living in Tampa Bay. I thought he’d make a great subject for the Patient Spotlight! -Dr. Nate

Dr. Nate: Mark, I think of you as a social media marketer, but your background really is as a coder. Can you tell me about what that transition was like?

Mark, That’s right, I grew up writing code on routers and mainframes for IBM and Cisco. As I moved into management I started becoming interested in the marketing side of the equation. So I dabbled in product management and technical marketing. Then one day in 2006 I learned about web analytics, this wonderful sweet spot between the technical and the marketing. From there I’ve grown into online marketing as my fanatical passion. Social media is an integral part of that space.

Your current project “31 Days of Wobtoberfest” is very creative. Tell me about how you came up with the idea.

I’ve read a lot about people during projects like this from Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen to to Rolf Pott’s Round the World with No Baggage and dreamed of doing something similar. But I have a job and a family. On September 4th of this year while driving home from a Gator game in Gainesville, the idea literally popped into my head. That night my wife enthusiastically signed on. Now I am blogging daily at during October from the World of Beer around the corner.

That is great. How it has been received by people online/offline?

80% of the people get it within the 30 seconds. The other 20% will never really understand what it’s about. To them it’s the beer and a waste of time and money. I don’t bother trying to convert them.

What else are you working on?

I try to experiment with everything I read or hear about if it interests me. Next up, I’d like to partner with someone on another short, focused project that doesn’t focus on profits, but rather makes me smarter and allows me to make mistakes with little downside. I have the ideas but it’s really about the time and collaboration with others to make them happen.

Anything else you want to share?

Tampa has such a high quality of life. Yet it’s really hard to find those fanatics like myself here in town. I wish there was some place for us to get together and collaborate without having business cards jammed in your face. I can dream, can’t I?

Thanks for letting me be a part of your Patient Spotlight, Nate! I’m glad we got to know each other.

No problem. It was fun!

If you’d like to join Mark for 31 Days of Wobtoberfest, check out The actual Wobtoberfest celebration is this Friday and Saturday October, 22nd and 23rd. PS: My birthday is the 23rd. 🙂

Dr. Nate

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


Patient Spotlight: Joe Bergeron & Solipskier iPhone App

We haven’t had a patient spotlight in awhile, so I am excited about this. After Joe Bergeron’s recent eye exam, he and I were chatting and he mentioned an iPhone app that he had worked on: Solipskier. It has been very successful and wanted to ask him a little more about it. – Dr. Nate

Dr. Nate: What is solipskier?

Joe: Solipskier is a fast paced video game where you draw snow slopes as a skier follows along for the ride. You draw down slopes to pick up speed, up slopes to navigate through gates, and ramps do crazy jumps. Tricks and successful gate hits rack up points. Solipskier is available free online ( and in the App store for the iPhone and iPad ( I had the pleasure of developing the iPhone/iPad version, and I’m porting the game to other platforms as well.

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Patient Spotlight: Paul Roberts from Max Velocity Racing

Not every patient is featured on the patient spotlight. But sometimes during an exam, I will find out something about a patient that I think is exceptionally interesting. This Patient Spotlight is about something that many of us remember fondly as kids, but maybe haven’t thought about much recently: radio controlled car racing. Enter Paul Roberts, driver for Max Velocity Racing, international RC racing champion. – Dr. Nate

Dr. Nate: Thanks for being a Patient Spotlight. How did you get into RC racing?

Paul: I have been interested in RC (radio controlled) cars since I was a kid but only until I saw a race event did I get interested in racing. I was amazed at the speed of the cars and how precise the drivers were able to control them around turns. You could feel the excitement and adrenaline watching the cars maneuver and battle for position. Being a mechanical engineer, I was also interested in the technology that allowed the cars to perform at such a high level. After talking with a few of the racers I decided to purchase a car and give racing a try.

Tell me a little about your class…

The class is called 1/8 Scale GT. The cars are relatively big compared to other cars in the sport. The engines run on nitro-methane which is a highly volatile fuel that gives the engines such high performance. Cars can achieve speeds in excess of 75mph. These high speeds translate into visually dynamic turning and great crashes. The cars are required to have bodies that look like street legal sports cars which is one of the big reasons the class has received so much positive attention. The cars really look like scaled down Ferrari, Corvette, and Lamborghini sports cars.

How competitive is your class?

The class is very competitive due to the rules that are intended to make the cars as equal as possible (similar to stock car racing). This puts the focus on driving as the largest contributing factor in winning a race. Often 45 min races will come down to a couple seconds separating 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. There are frequent battles for position throughout the race that get oooohs and ahhhs from the on looking crowd.

To what do you attribute your success last year?

I would attribute my success at the 2010 GT World Championships to 4 things: calm driving, meticulous car maintenance, a good pit person, and luck. When driving with good drivers you are controlling your car at high speed within inches of other cars and barriers. In a 45 min race it is important to stay focused and avoid getting fatigued or riled up if you make a mistake or somebody hits you. You need to let it go and focus on the next turn. Some racers will make a mistake and get mad about it and it makes them make another mistake and then it snowballs and they defeat themselves. Staying calm and focused after a mistake is a big part of a good consistent driver.

Having your car as close to mechanically perfect is very important. The cars are very rugged but over time parts wear out, screws get loose, and parts break. It is important before the big race to meticulously go through the car from bumper to bumper checking and double checking parts and systems for wear or breakage. It can mean the difference between winning and not finishing the race.

Having a good pit person is always a good thing. The final races last 30-60 minutes and the cars only run 7 min on one tank of fuel. Your pit person re-fuels the car during the race and will make slight modifications to your car if necessary to optimize its performance. It’s always good to have a pit person that knows the car and is quick with the fuel to minimize your pit time.

Luck plays a role in the race because other drivers make mistakes too and crashes result. You don’t always know when crashes will happen and you are lucky to avoid a crash if it happens in front of you. If you do get in a crash you are lucky if you don’t break something. In the World Championship Race I ended the race with two crucial screws backed out 75% and one tire that was about to fail. Not to mention my engine broke in the last 30 seconds of the race (luckily I was 4 laps ahead and nobody could make up 4 laps in 30sec). Luck plays a role but the better you master the first three points the less luck will influence your outcome.

What are your future goals with RC racing?

My future goals are to keep improving my driving, have fun, and promote the sport. I have only been in this for a little under 2 years so I know I have more to learn in the driving realm. The secret to keeping it fun is staying positive and not get bummed out if you break and lose a race. As far as promoting the sport I think it is great for kids and adults. It’s a great outdoor activity that teaches mechanical ingenuity, auto racing concepts, and sportsmanship. Races are frequently held on the weekends at Lakes Park so if anyone is interested in seeing a race or would like more info come check us out.

Thanks, Paul. Good luck in your many future races!

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

Watch a a video of Max Velocity Racing in action:

Click here if video doesn’t play.


Patient Spotlight: Doula Stefany Mills

It is time again for another Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight. Although I enjoy all of our Spotlights, this a more personal one for me because Stefany assisted with the birth of both Nora and, more recently, Javier.

Stefany is not only my patient at Bright Eyes, she is our doula. If you are not familiar with what a doula is, DONA International states that a a doula is “a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.”

But let me tell you what I think a doula is, based on my experience. A doula is person who make one of the most important and most stressful times of your life better. They can help you understand your options and can act as liaisons with the hospital staff. They can anticipate complex or potentially problematic situations and help prepare you. Mostly they stand by you and support you, regardless of your preferred birthing method or result. In short, they are great.

Before Nora was born, I had never heard of a doula. After the birth of Nora and Javier, I am a big advocate. I jumped at the chance to learn more about what Stefany does.

Dr. B: Thanks for being willing to answer some questions, Stefany. First, how long have you been a doula?

Stefany: 6 1/2 years

What lead you to become a doula?

I had two difficult labors due to my babies not being positioned properly Although they were both head down, they were not facing the right way which created long painful labors. When I was asked to support my cousin in her labor, I felt there must be something more I could do than just be there, so I started looking up doulas. I wanted to see what they do, specifically, to help the laboring mom. While reading and researching, something clicked and I knew this was what I needed to be doing for all moms.

What is the training like?

For DONA (my ceritifying organization)an intensives workshop is required along with a substanial amount of reading. Then a certain number of births need to be done complete with time lines and evaluations from the mother, Dr. and nurse. Each birth is written up with a description as well as what the doula learned from each. A written paper on the value of labor support is required as well. We are required to attend a childbirth education series (not as an expectant parent) as well as a breastfeeding education series (again not as an expectant parent). The entire process can take anywhere from a few months to two years.

Who could benefit the most from a doula?

EVERY woman. It doesn’t matter who she already has supporting her a doula is truly a necessity to have an empowering birth experience and every woman should feel empowered regardless of her delivery outcome.

What are some major misconceptions about doulas?

Many people feel they don’t need a doula if they are planning a medicated birth or even a c-section. Doulas are there to empower and support moms whatever their birth decisions are to be. Regardless of delivery choices, there will always be information necessary and work to be done. Another misconception is that women who have others supporting them don’t need a doula as they believe that it will be redundant. The fact is, we all have a job to do. This would be like saying I don’t need my doctor, nurse or midwife because I have support. Each person has a role to fulfill. A doula is as necessary as each of those other roles and his or her role is unique to that education. Neither the support people, the nurse, the doctor, or even the midwife has the same training and knowledge a doula does.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We believe every woman should have a doula and her decision to have one should never be factored by cost. We work with a sliding fee scale to be sure every woman can afford our services. We will support all of her birth decisions unconditionally.

Thanks again, Stefany. You have such a wonderful career!

If you would like to find out more about Touched by an Angel Childbirth services on Facebook and
Dr. Nate

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

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Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight: Leslie Joy Ickowitz Publisher and Editor of VERTICAL Tampa Bay

I have been very pleased with the response from the Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight and my goal now is to make it a monthly feature on Bright Eyes News. So every month, we’ll highlight a Bright Eyes patient who is doing something interesting and intriguing around Tampa Bay.

This month, I am pleased to spotlight Leslie Joy Ickowitz, Publisher and Editor of VERTICAL Tampa Bay.

So without any further ado…

Dr. B: You’ve been involved in publishing for a long time. Tell me about your new project, Vertical Tampa Bay:

LJI: VERTICAL is Tampa Bay’s first fully virtual magazine celebrating fashion, flavor, travel, culture and beauty (inside & out). It is a magazine with a conscience, designed to uplift our community. It is inspired by and speaks to the visionaries who call Tampa Bay home.

Prior to the launch of the premiere even, its reception has been marvelous. Everyone I speak to “gets it, believes in it and wants to be a part of it.” What more could I hope for? It’s a dream-come-true.

What led you to go virtual with VERTICAL? Describe how that makes it different from other projects with which you’ve been involved.

Going virtual was an easy decision (even though I’m a fan of print publications). Beyond the obvious green factor, there are several advantages to VERTICAL’s virtual delivery.

Without the overhead of print, ink, chemicals, etc., VERTICAL offers a more affordable and much more powerful advertising solution to help businesses continue marketing. Direct links to featured-and advertiser websites enable the instant gratification we all lust for—advertisers want to drive traffic to their sites while readers want access to more information, in the moment.

In addition to the striking aesthetic impact of the digital presentation, VERTICAL’s interactivity empowers readers to shop. If you see an ad or an article about a spa for example, with one click you can access the spa’s website to view the menu of treatments and make contact to schedule an appointment.

It’s exciting to be ahead of the curve.

The Media Kit that I have seen at looks gorgeous. Have you been pleased with the reception that has gotten?

Everybody is flipping over the media kit! I am honored to have a talented team of individuals contributing to VERTICAL. Susan Jeffers is a phenomenal photographer and Pamela Bloomgren is an amazing wardrobe stylist and makeup artist. Bill Baker is Tampa Bay’s celebrity hair stylist and our cover girl, Olivia, has a bright future ahead. Add my art director, James Burgos of Boulevard Creative, to the mix and that’s a recipe for style and success!

What other exciting projects are you working on?

A few things:

VERTICAL is a proud media sponsor of Tampa Bay Fashion Week 9/23 – 9/26 (

While subscriptions to VERTICAL will always be free, we are bringing an optional membership program on board starting with the holiday issue (November/December).

And another one of my favorite activities: connecting people. I’m happy to be the “unofficial publicist” for lots of wonderful individuals.

Every day, VERTICAL exposes new possibilities to me. There’s much more excitement to come on the horizon…

Thanks again, Leslie. Anything else you’d like to share?

Yes, two things:

VERTICAL is a true community magazine. It is as much yours as it is mine. In every issue we are donating ads to local charities and featuring entrepreneurs and philanthropists who contribute to the greater good of the Tampa Bay area. I hope our readers will participate by nominating people and organizations that deserve the attention. I may not be able to say, “yes” all the time but you can bet I’m going to try my best. Submit nominations to:

It is my pleasure to invite Bright Eyes customers and friends to receive a complimentary subscription to VERTICAL. Click here to sign up:

Thanks to Leslie for taking the time to talk about her exciting new project. If you’d like to find out more you can at or you can follow Vertical on Twitter. It is always fun to hear about and be involved in new projects going on in Westchase and Tampa Bay.

If you are a patient and would like to be in the Spotlight, email or find us on Twitter

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

Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight: Randi

For our next Patient Spotlight, I talked with Randi. She has been a patient since the very beginning of Bright Eyes. Every time I talk to her, she has some sort of artistic endeavor going on. She is so busy, that it took a while to put this together:

Dr. B: Hi Randi, thanks for participating in the Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your family.

Randi: My husband Bruce and I have two children, Jennifer, 16, and Samantha, 12. We have been living in Tampa for 7 years and love it here! Bruce is a photographer and a salesperson, and a workaholic ;). Jennifer attends Robinson High School and is going into 11th grade. Samantha is going into 7th grade at Davidsen Middle School. We also have a Golden Retriever named LUCKY.

What are your favorite things about Westchase?

The people! I love the community feel and how everyone is always willing to help everyone out. I have never lived in an area where everyone is so friendly and warm.

What was the inspiration to form the Westchase Community Theater?

Last summer, Vanessa Lewis (music teacher at Westchase Elementary), Linda Whitelaw (art teacher at Westchase Elementary) and myself started a summer camp called the Act ‘n Artz Academy. It was a great success, and between that and seeing how much the children at Westchase enjoyed performing in the shows they did through school, we thought there was a need to offer something in this area.

How is the camp going this summer?

We are in the middle of camp now. It is a two week summer camp. The years theme is “Tales of Temples and Tombs” and is about Ancient Egypt. We are doing some VERY cool art projects- we just finished Papier Mache Pharaoh masks and mummies, and we are working on fans, t shirts, and all kinds of amazing projects. At the same time, we are working toward our show which is held the last day of camp at 1 PM. It is a musical, and the kids are having a blast learning the songs and choreographing their dances! We are so fortunate to be able to hold our camp at the Wellspring Church, (although it is not religiously affiliated in any way), it is bright, colorful, cheerful, and air conditioned!!

You are sure busy. What other projects do you have going on?

I am a party planner and I specialize in planning Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s. I am currently helping 4 families to plan their events. It is sooo much fun!

Wow. It sounds like having fun is your job! We are happy to have you as as our first “Patient Spotlight!” Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate. If anyone would like more information about the camp or the theater, please e-mail me at

Great, Randi. Thanks so much for talking with us.

If you are a Bright Eyes Patient and would like to participate in the Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight, just let me know. If you’d like to become a patient at Bright Eyes, just come on by – we’d love to take care of you.

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

Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight: Michele Northup

Here at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, we have some very interesting patients. I am always amazed at the things that patients have going on. Whether it is starting a business, a community project, or personal hobby, our patients always having something fascinating to talk about.

So Bright Eyes has decided to feature our most interesting patient on our blog with a new series called: Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight! And although I have had a few ideas about who to Spotlight, Michele Northrup made it very easy by coming in and tweeting her entire eye exam on Twitter!!

But before we get to the exam tweeting, let me tell you about Michele. She is an incredibly funny, energetic woman. She is always doing a million things and has a million more ideas. One idea that has kept her very busy is her company Intensity Academy, that produces Award-winning hotsauces.

But I’m not the only one who has noticed. For one, Michele is a finalist for Business Woman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. This is a big honor and she is very excited about it. But she also is a sought-after social-media consultant, who teaches classes on how to market brands via websites likes and

So now that you know a bit about Michele. You can see how she works in action, via her eye exam at Bright Eyes. Here is a sampling of Michele’s tweets, including pictures:

@Brighteyestampa on my way to my 1st eye appt with @NateBW & crew at Bright Eyes in Westchase. Twitter Tour of the appt to come. Stay tuned!

@BrighteyesTampa crew welcoming me for my 1st eye appt.


Seeing 3-D testing depth perception. I passed w/ flying colors! @BrightEyesTampa


@BrighteyesTampa checkin’ to SEE if my eyes are healthy & bright! Doc Nate & crew are GREAT! Dilation next!!


@BrighteyesTampa ‘s fashion eye consultant! Helping me pick THE perfect pair of glasses!!!


Here are the lenses I like…a neutral metal frame. Whatcha’ think???


RT @BrightEyesTampa: If anyone wants to make an apt call 813-792-0637 or Say you saw us on twitter for discounts

RT @BrightEyesTampa: When you buy a compete pair of glasses at @BrightEyesTampa, mention Twitter or @MicheleNorthrup and get a FREE bottle of hotsauce!

@BrightEyesTampa bringing the whole fam. in to SEE the fab folks in westchase!I LOVED my appt so much yesterday I decided to rally troops!

So in honor of Michele being the first Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight and for being such a good sport, I am offering a FREE bottle of Intensity Academy hotsauce to anyone who purchases a complete pair of glasses and mentions that saw the ad on Twitter.


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


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