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Infant Vision

AOA School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision

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The American Optometric Association recently held a School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision in which doctors, nurses, educators and advocates for children’s health gathered to examine learning-related vision issues that are keeping children from achieving in the classroom. This summit was created to address the concerns that our current system is flawed and a policy shift is needed. The problem is that currently, the U.S. educational system and some health care providers rely heavily on vision screenings to discover the kids that need comprehensive exams. These screenings do catch some types of vision problems but they can miss about 75% of those children that have learning-related vision problems. Detecting these vision problems is very important as “studies show that much of what children learn comes though vision, and undetected and untreated eye and vision disorders in children, such as amblyopia and strabismus, can result in vision loss, additional costly treatments, delayed reading and poorer outcomes in school.”

The take-home statement that the summit produced is that comprehensive eye exams must serve as the foundation to determine school readiness in school-aged children. Another important point established at this meeting is the establishment of the link between healthy vision and classroom learning.

This historic summit is an important step in ensuring that children receive the proper detection and treatment of vision problems before they become detrimental to their learning. Here at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, we are excited to see these changes being made, since it has been our goal from the beginning to not only catch vision problems at an early stage, evidenced by the InfantSEE program that we offer that provides free eye exams to infants between the age of 6 months and 1 year of age, but to also treat certain types of problems through our extensive one-on-one vision therapy program.

If you have any questions regarding the InfantSEE program, vision therapy program, or would like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child before they start school, give our office a call or come in to schedule.

All the best,

Justin Schoonover, CPO

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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Video on Infant Visual Scientific Research

OK, so this video is from the last century. Specifically 1999. But although it is not cutting edge, the first segment does a great job of demonstrating some elements of infant visual development and shows how visual scientists construct experiments to understand infants vision.


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

PS: It is amazing. You can find almost anything on Youtube nowadays. My two-year old daughter’s favorites are The ABCs and Los Pollitos.

Parenting Magazine:Strabismus Can Be Missed During Routine Exams

In the July 2008 issue of Parenting magazine, William Sears, M.D., author of many books on childcare and parenting, wrote an article titled “Take Charge of Your Child’s Heath: 5 Common Conditions and How You can help Catch Them.”

The number one issue that Dr. Sears says that can be overlooked by a pediatrician is strabismus, which is the wandering or crossing of an eye. While the article is too brief to be complete, I am glad that Dr. Sears makes a point that strabismus can be missed during a routine appointment and that parents should trust what they see… typically, if a mom sees something really wrong, there is.

I’d like to add a few additional comments to the article.

First, it mentions that strabismus can be treated with glasses or surgery. This is true, but it may also be treated with vision therapy. Second, It is better to prevent a visual problem than fix one later. The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams at 6 months, 3 years, and each year during school. To help, the AOA created a program, InfantSee, that provides no-cost eye exams for infants less than 12 months old

Be Well!


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.


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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