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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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Ask Dr. Nate: Can Babies Really Use Contact Lenses?

qmI was just reading about babies that wear contact lenses. Is that really true? How do you know what lens to give them and how can they put them in?

Yes. It is true. But an infant doesn’t get contact lenses just because they don’t like their glasses. Infants as young as one week old may need contact lenses because that is the only way their eyes can get the best sight to ensure proper visual development. Infants might need contacts if they have had cataract surgery, have extremely high prescription glasses, or have very different prescriptions for the two eyes.

If an infant or very young child needs a contact lens, it can be a challenging experience for everyone involved. For that reason, contact lenses are only recommended for infants in specific situations wear glasses will not work. After a comprehensive eye and vision exam, I will discuss contacts carefully with the parents and the process should only begin when they have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of infant contact lens wear.

The benefits include:
· Improved vision with contacts
· Improved conditions for proper visual development
· Increased compliance when undergoing patching (occlusion) therapy

The risks are:
· Can be time consuming and stressful to insert and remove
· Possibility of irritation requiring removal of contact during the day
· Increased level of responsibility and care needed to monitor eyes
· Possibility of infection or ulcer of the eye, especially if proper lens hygiene not followed

Important information to know before we begin:
· Contact lenses must be removed every night for cleaning.
· It will be difficult at first to insert and remove the lens. This can be a two-person job.
· The contact lenses are custom made and may be expensive to replace if lost or damaged.

If you are a parent that has an infant or young children in contact lenses, the yahoo group Aphakic is a truly wonderful resource that I encourage you to check out. If you do need contacts for your child, inform yourself as much as possible and ask lots of questions of your eye doctor to make sure he or she is comfortable with the process.

See Well!

Dr. Nate

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


Mommy Blogging About InfantSee

Recently, Johnson & Johnson held an innovative event called Camp Baby. They invited “mommy bloggers” (women who blog about their experiences raising children) for a series of lectures and events. The bloggers were under no obligation to write about their experience, but many did.

One of the featured speakers was Optometrist Scott Jens chairman of the InfantSee program that provides eye exams to infants at no charge. The recommended time for a first comprehensive eye exam for infants with no eye problems is between 6 and 12 months. If you care interested, you can read about my daughter’s InfantSee exam, that I performed when she was 7 months old.

Dr. Jens, who practices in Madison, WI, is a great speaker and many found his talk to be informative. Here is one review of Dr. Jens from

My personal favorite was learning about InfantSee with Dr. Scott Jens. This is a program supported by J&J which provides a free eye exam for all infants. Since my brother struggled horribly in school until they realized he was near sighted in one eye and far sighted in the other and simply couldn’t see what was going on in the world, I think this opportunity is something all parents should take advantage of! As a matter of fact, I have already made arrangements with Dr. Jens to get information about InfantSee into my community

Here are some other mommy blogs on the InfantSee program:

Cool Moms Rule!

Because I Said So

Midwestern Mommy

The MotherLoad


Socal Mom

If you have a baby between the ages of 6 and 12 months, the InfantSEE program will provide one evaluation at no change. Call the office or visit for more information.

Be Well!

Dr. Nate

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

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth 17 Pounds of Cuteness.

nora1My daughter’s name is Nora. She is, of course, adorable. And since I am an eye doctor, I have been watching with interest how her eyes and vision develop since she was just minutes old. First she opened her eyes. Then she got better at moving them (but not necessarily together.) Finally, she developed a wide-eyed inquisitive way of looking at things that has not faded.

Since before she was born, my wife Cristina and I have done our very best to take care of her and made sure that she received all the care and attention that she needed. We have a wonderful pediatrician who has seen her many times. Fortunately, Nora has always been healthy (except for that first ear infection). She is a happy baby girl and she appears to be growing fast without any problems. But there still are some aspects of her eyes and vision that have not been checked fully.

Nora recently turned 7 months old. That means it is time for her first comprehensive eye and vision assessment. For the average baby, all the visual skills should be significantly developed by six months old. The American Optometric Association recommends the first eye exam at six months of age, then at three years of age and every year while in school. So with the help of my father and Cristina, Nora received her first eye exam.

infantsee1sLike I do with all infants, I first checked that she can see well out of each eye. I then made sure her eyes are straight and not drifting inward or outward. I checked to see if her eyes can turn inward the proper amount when she looks at an object or toy up close. I shined some bright lights in her eyes to make sure that her pupils react properly to light. They did.

By using a special flashlight called a retinoscope, I was able to determine if Nora had any refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism). It turns out that she has a small amount of farsightedness, which is perfectly normal. Most commonly, the large amounts of refractive error that a baby may have tend to diminish over time (a process called emmetropization), but it is good to have a baseline measurement to see if the error is increasing, staying the same, or decreasing.

After I was convinced that Nora was seeing well and her eyes moved well for her age, it was time to check out the health of her eyes. I looked closely at all the parts of her eyes on the outside to make sure everything was healthy and working well. Then I sprayed eyedrops onto her eyes to enlarge her pupils to allow me to see inside. This is the same type of drop that we use for adults when we dilate their pupils, but the spray makes sure we get it in their tiny eyes without too much fuss.

infantsee2s1The drops take 15 minutes or so to take effect, so we all went out in the waiting area. We passed the time by trying on some baby sunglasses, which were very cute on her. After the spray worked its magic, I had Cristina hold Nora and I examined very carefully all around the inside of Nora’s eye to make sure all the nerves, blood vessels, and other parts of her eyes were healthy.

So now that Nora’s eyes have a clean bill of health, I don’t need to examine her again until she’s three years old. And, really, she did great. She a had a good time playing with the toys, and I can sleep at night knowing that she’s been thoroughly checked out.

If you have an infant at home between the ages of 6 and 12 months, the InfantSEE program will provide one evaluation like Nora’s at no change. Call the office or visit for more information.

Merry Christmas!

Dr. Nate

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


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