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Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford Earns Fellowship in College of Optometrists in Vision Development

The entire Bright Eyes staff and I are proud to announce that our own Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford (Dr. Nate to most) has achieved Fellowship in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is a non-profit, international membership association of eye care professionals including optometrists, optometry students, and vision therapists. Established in 1971, COVD provides board certification for optometrists and vision therapists who are prepared to offer state-of-the-art services in Behavioral and developmental vision care, Vision therapy, and Visual rehabilitation

The Fellowship process certifies optometrists as having advanced competency in providing developmental vision and vision therapy services, enabling members to maintain the higheststandards of professional knowledge and competency. In order to be a fellow candidate the optometrist must have obtained associate member status, be in practice a minimum of three years, with at least two years providing direct clinical diagnosis and management in vision therapy, and has earned at least 100 hours of continuing education in the pertinent subject areas. The Fellowship process consists of successful completion of: 1) six open book essay questions, 2) three written clinical case reports, 3) a comprehensive written multiple choice examination, and 4) oral examination.

After 4 years of effort, Dr. Nate can now add the letters FCOVD to the OD and FAAO that follow his name, indicating the only children’s vision specialist in Tampa who has attained Fellowship in both the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and American Academy of Optometry.

Congrats, Dr, Nate!

– Dr. Beth Knighton


Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Children’s Vision and Learning Month Proclamation


I am very pleased to share that Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued the Children’s Vision and Learning Month proclamation. August was first declared Vision & Learning Month in 1995 and now it is an anual tradition. The goal of this national observance is to help educate parents and educators about the critical link between vision and learning. Here is Governor Scott’s proclamation

CVLMFor many parents in Florida, back to school means back to the search for answers to their children’s learning difficulties. While many parents are hopeful the new teacher will have a magic bullet, others are just as frustrated as when the previous school year ended. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Dr. David Damari, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), an organization that I am actively involved in. “Statistically more than 60% of children who struggle with reading have underlying vision problems contributing to their challenges.”

But it’s not the type of vision problem most people think of. Most of the children who have vision problems that interfere with reading and learning can actually see the letters on the eye chart just fine. So when parents are told their children have passed a vision screening, what they are really being told is that their child can see clearly far away. But the problem lies in what was not tested – how well the two eyes work together when reading, how they move on the page or track a line of print, to name a few of the 17 visual skills required for academic success.

It doesn’t really matter what the curriculum is or even what country you are in, when children have underlying vision problems contributing to their learning challenges, they continue to struggle until the vision problem is corrected.

“August is historically National Children’s Vision and Learning Month, but this year we decided to share stories from around the globe so people could see this is a global problem with a universal solution,” states Damari. As the new school year rounds the corner, August is the perfect time to make sure your child has all the visual skills required for academic success. For more information, visit

All the best!

Dr. Nate

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
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Join COVD’s “Visions of Hope” Vision Therapy Video Contest.

At Bright Eyes Family Vision Care we love it when patients share their successes with us. Many times and they simply tell us when they come in. Sometimes they’ll write an amazing e-mail. One thing we really love is a good video!

Take for example this video of Kellan and his mom describing how vision therapy has helped him:


I’m excited to say that many other people are sharing their vision therapy success stories by video as well these days! Check out this very creative and timely one from Jillian, of Jillian’s Story. See also this very moving story of vision therapy and how much difference it made for Ann.

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an organization dedicated to educating doctors and the general public about vision therapy. This summer, in conjunction with Children’s Vision and Learning Month, COVD is hosting an amazing vision therapy success story video competition called Visions of Hope video contest.

The goal of the competition is to see how many great vision therapy stories they can get on line to help share the positive impact vision therapy can have. It is exciting because the contest has already gotten lots of attention online. I can’t wait to see all the great videos that result from it!

Do you have a vision therapy success story that you want to share? Join the Vision of Hope contest! Read exactly how to submit your entry on the COVD Facebook Page. Submissions are due by August 10, so don’t dilly-dally! If you want to submit a video but have any questions or need help, do not hesitate to let me know!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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Stereo Blind…when you can’t see Avatar in 3-D means more than missing out on a good movie

Note: This is our first guest post. It was written by Dr. Dan L. Fortenbacher, an optometrist who practices in Michigan. Not only is he an outstanding vision therapist and optometric leader, he is a visionary when it comes to social media. Enjoy! – Dr. B.

The ability to see in stereo. What does that mean? Basically, stereo-vision is the ability to see depth in our visual space. That is, the ability to tell that space exists between objects in the environment. In essence stereo vision is your 3-D vision. It is the ability to judge depth because you actually see depth. This is accomplished through normal binocular (two-eyed) vision.

Most of us relate to this as we see 3-D pictures or 3-D movies. However, it is much more than that…stereopsis provides a quality of vision that is much like color vision. To those who are color blind, the ability to “see” exists, but the color deficient individual lacks a quality of vision that can only be described as a phenomenon of see the world with a quality of color perception. The world of color can not be easily put into words. The same is true with stereo vision. Until you see it you don’t know what you are missing. But, to be sure the stereo-blind are missing a lot! Continue reading


As parents ready millions of children across the US to start the new school year, COVD’s “August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month” campaign is working to raise awareness about the important connection between vision and learning.

Current research shows that vision problems afflict millions of American children and thereby impact their ability to learn:
• One in four school-age children have vision problems, according to the American Foundation in Vision Awareness;
• 18 million children will not have had eye examinations by a Doctor of Optometry or other certified vision
care professional prior to entering school;
• 60 percent of students identified as “problem learners” have undetected vision problems, according to the American Optometric Association.

“Vision disorders are one of the leading impediments to successful learning in children,” said Dr. Drusilla Grant,Immediate Past President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. “Many vision problems go undetected because a child is told he or she has 20/20 vision and healthy eyes. This can be misleading because their visual skills, like tracking, eye teaming, and focusing may not have been evaluated and this is really where the problem lies.”

Exams using only the eye chart do not measure how well a child can see at near distances, nor do they evaluate depth perception, eye coordination or numerous other visual skills required in the learning process. They also don’t evaluate the visual abilities that are needed to extract information off of a page.

According to Dr. Dan L. Fortenbacher, COVD President, “We’re dealing with far more than just ‘eyesight.’ Our concern and primary focus is with identifying and treating a delay in the patient’s ability to access and process visual information in ways that are the necessary prerequisites for developmental learning. These issues can be treated through vision therapy, but particularly when diagnosed early.”

While “August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month” is concentrated on the month of August, the goal of the campaign is to broaden awareness year-round that vision is more than 20/20. The 20/20 test does not test how well you see at reading distance. In fact, the 20/20 test fails to evaluate many other important aspects of normal vision such as:
• Eye focusing
• Eye coordination
• Eye teaming (binocular vision)
• Eye movement
• Visual perceptual skills
• Color vision

At the center of its national “August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month” public awareness campaign, COVD urges parents, teachers, and all other decision-makers involved in the health and welfare of children to learn more about how vision impacts children’s ability to learn. Two articles recently published in the COVD journal, Optometry & Vision Development, found that children with vision problems have a hard time learning basic mathematical skills and that if the appropriate vision therapy is given, math skills improve.

Parents and teachers are encouraged to make a comprehensive eye examination part of their preparations for the new school year and to look for the following indications that vision problems may be contributing to learning challenges of their children and students:
• Frequent loss of place when reading
• Poor reading comprehension
• Sloppy handwriting
• Confusing similar looking words
• Failure to recognize the same word in sequential sentences
• Complaints of eyes hurting or headaches after reading
• Avoidance of close work (such as reading)
• Attention problems

Any of the above symptoms may be a sign that your child may be struggling with a learning-related vision problem. Fortunately, through vision therapy, many learning-related vision problems can be corrected. Protocols typically involve a prescribed program aimed at eliminating faulty vision skill patterns and rebuilding them correctly. For an in-depth checklist of symptoms, information on vision therapy and the critical link between vision and learning or to find a doctor near you, visit our website,

About COVD
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit Optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation and board certification programs in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy and visual rehabilitation. The organization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and other vision specialists. For more information on learning-related vision problems, vision therapy and COVD, please visit or call 888.268.3770.

Vision Problems Affect How Children Learn Math Skills

In the most recent issue of Optometry & Vision Development, the official journal of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, two articles were published by German scientist and researcher, Dr. Burkhart Fischer and his team which found that children with vision problems have a hard time learning basic mathematical skills and that if the appropriate vision therapy is given, math skills improve.

Dr. Fischer’s work has been featured on several German television news programs which reported on his research in the area of deficits in vision and eye movement control, as well as his success using vision therapy and its ability to improve reading.

Dr. Fischer notes that, “My research shows that vision function and eye movement control can affect a child’s development even into young adulthood. It is important for children to have a comprehensive assessment for the presence of learning related vision disorders in order to know why they may be having difficulties in reading and spelling skills, as well as obtaining basic arithmetic ability at school.”

He goes on to state, “Teachers, doctors, psychologists, therapists, and parents must be informed about these new facts in order to be able to help children overcome their deficits. It may make little sense to teach reading or math skills to someone who has deficits in basic sensory, visual and/or optomotor processing.”

Dr. Burkart Fischer and his team conduct their research at the Center of Neuroscience, Optomotor Laboratory, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Federal Republic of Germany.

You can download the original articles here and here.

Dr. Nate

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

A Quest for Luke

Here is another great story about how vision problems can be overlooked in children – by parents and professionals alike. This one takes place outside of Chicago, and involves Dr. Neil Margolis, a wonderfully talented Optometrist.

Dr. Nate

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

Eyedoctors Everywhere in Tampa Bay!

Two very cool things are going on in Tampa Bay during October. The first is my birthday. I will be another year older and, hopefully, wiser. The second (and probably more important) is that thousands of eye doctors and vision specialists are coming to St. Pete and Tampa from all over the world to discuss the most current vision science research and patient care.

These specialists are coming to our community to attend two major meetings. The first one, held at the Vinoy in St. Petersburg, is the annual meeting for the College of Optometrists in Visual Development. This is the premier organization for doctors who treat visual problems in children and provide vision therapy. I have been deeply involved with this organization since Optometry school. It is wonderful because it is made up of energetic doctors and vision therapists who deeply care about their patients.

The other meeting, held at the Tampa convention center, is the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry. This huge meeting presents the very latest research in all aspects of visual science: from infant vision to glaucoma management to contact lens advances.

Two of the most exciting areas that I am looking forward to are myopia (nearsightedness) control and orthokeratology (Precise Corneal Reshaping), topics that I have have long had an interest in.

Now, I realize that not everyone is going to get as excited as I am about these two meetings, but consider this: almost every other attendee had to pack a suitcase, fly or drive all day, and stay in a hotel. I, on the other hand, was able to attend committee meetings and lectures during the day and while eating dinner with my family and sleeping in my own bed at night. And, to me, that is a great birthday present!

Be well!

Dr. Nate

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


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