EyeSouth Expands into the Florida Panhandle Through Affiliation with the Eye Center of North Florida

EyeSouth Partners (“EyeSouth” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has completed an affiliation with the Eye Center of North Florida (“ECNF”). The affiliation represents EyeSouth’s second in Florida and first in the Panhandle Region. EyeSouth is an eye care-focused management services organization backed by Shore Capital Partners committed to partnering with leading physicians to build a premier network of eye care services in the South. EyeSouth’s affiliate network consists of 14 practices with approximately 90 doctors providing medical and surgical eye care services at approximately 59 locations including 10 surgery centers throughout Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama.

The Eye Center of North Florida is led by Dr. Bret Fisher, Dr. Paul Garland, Dr. Jeffrey Pyne, Dr. Anthony Aker, Dr. David Edinger, and Dr. Mark Jones and functions with two additional optometrists, Dr. Lisa and Scott McKim. ECNF employs approximately 100 support staff across four clinical locations in the Florida Panhandle with its headquarters and Ambulatory Surgery Center (“ASC”) located in Panama City. ECNF was formed in 1999 following the merger of the Newberry Eye Clinic and Gulf Coast Eye Clinic, two of the oldest, most established and trusted practices in the Florida Panhandle. Many of the key employees and doctors trace their roots to before the merger with a track record of providing quality care for decades.

Dr. Aker commented on the partnership, “The affiliation with EyeSouth will position the Eye Center to continue to provide quality care for decades to come, ensuring our employees, patients, and the community are taken care of over the long-run.” Dr. Fisher continued, “It was incredibly important to us to find a partner that shared our commitment to providing innovative patient care. When I look at all the high-quality physicians that have joined EyeSouth including many of which I have known for years, it is exciting to think about what we can collectively accomplish.”

“We are extremely excited to partner with the premier eye care provider in the Florida Panhandle,” said Eugene Gabianelli, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of EyeSouth Partners. “Our collective clinical mission is fully aligned, and we look forward to growing ECNF and expanding access to quality patient care throughout the local community.”

The Eye Center of North Florida will continue to operate under its brand, with no changes to staff, physicians or locations.

To learn more about a partnership with EyeSouth Partners, visit www.eyesouthpartners.com or contact Charlie Shreve, VP of Business Development & Strategy, charlie.shreve@eyesouthpartners.com.

About EyeSouth Partners

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, EyeSouth Partners (“EyeSouth”) is an eye care management services organization committed to partnering with leading physicians to build a premier network of eye care services in the South. EyeSouth’s partner practices’ clinical mission is to provide high quality medical and surgical specialty eye care. EyeSouth supports its affiliated practices and physician partners with strategic guidance, administrative resources, operating expertise, and capital with an absolute focus on clinical quality and a patient-first culture. EyeSouth’s affiliate network consists of 14 practices and approximately 90 doctors providing medical and surgical eye care services at approximately 59 locations including 10 surgery centers throughout Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama. EyeSouth is backed by Shore Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on microcap healthcare and food & beverage investments. For more information about EyeSouth Partners, please visit: www.eyesouthpartners.com.

About Shore Capital Partners

Shore Capital Partners is a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on microcap healthcare and food & beverage investments. Shore supports management partners with capital, business development expertise, and industry knowledge to accelerate growth, fund acquisitions, and generate value to shareholders. Shore targets investments in proven, successful private companies with superior management teams, stable cash flow, and significant growth potential, including organic and growth through industry consolidation. Shore has over $1 billion of equity capital under management through various investment vehicles. More information about Shore Capital Partners can be found at www.shorecp.com.

Dr. Fisher presents on KAMRA at ASCRS

Check out this video of Dr. Bret Fisher providing a booth presentation on KAMRA at ASCRS. 

Main office closed on May 3

Our main office on HWY 77 will be closed on May 3 for our employees to prepare the clinic to fully reopen on May 6.  After many months of restoration we will finally be back in the clinic!

Laser & Surgery Center Receives Accreditation

The Eye Center is pleased to announce that our Laser and Surgery Center was recently accredited for the 11th year by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).

This is an important milestone in the continuing growth and success of our health care organization. Pursuing accreditation shows our commitment to providing the highest levels of quality care to our patients, and the same high level of quality in our business practices. Achieving accreditation by AAAHC is proof that we have met the rigorous standards of a nationally-recognized third party.

We are proud to have met the challenge of accreditation, and intend to consistently uphold the principles of quality improvement in patient care in the future.

Webinar for Medical Professionals Featuring Dr. Bret Fisher on Kamra Inlay

KAMRA® Inlay for Presbyopic Patients

CorneaGen presents a FREE webinar for medical professionals featuring board certified ophthalmologists Dr. Shamik Bafna of the Cleveland Eye Clinic and our very own Dr. Bret Fisher.

Watch the recording here:  

What Causes Digital Related Eye Strain?

Staring at a screen for long periods may cause your eyes to feel dry and tired, develop blurry vision, fatigue or eye strain but it won’t cause permanent eye damage. Normally, we blink about 15 times a minute, but studies show we blink half to a third that often while using computers and other digital screen devices.

Eye Ergonomics Tips*

  • Sit about 25 inches, or arm’s length, from the computer screen. Position the screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward.
  • Many devices now have glass screens with considerable glare. Reduce glare by using a matte screen filter if needed.
  • Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
  • If a screen is much brighter than the surrounding light, your eyes have to work harder to see. Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.

Contact lenses can exacerbate eye dryness and irritation. Some tips for contact lens wearers:

  • Give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.
  • Don’t sleep in your contact lenses, even if they are labeled “extended wear.”
  • Always use good cleaning practices.

If your eyes are consistently red, blurry or watery, or they become sensitive to light or painful, please call and see one of our eye care specialists.

*American Academy of Ophthalmology 

Why Healthy Eyes Make a Happy Heart

February is Heart Health Awareness Month and serves as an important reminder to focus on ways to keep your heart healthy. But what most people don’t realize, is that having a comprehensive eye exam is an important part of heart health and can actually find underlying heart issues and diseases.

During a complete eye exam, your eye doctor will look at the surface of your eyes and deeper into the retina, which can show signs of health issues like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and other potentially life-threatening diseases. Many of these conditions are first detected in the eye because the retina is one of the few places in your body where doctors can physically see the blood flow, looking for signs of blockages, swelling, and bleeding.

In addition to checking your vision during an eye exam, we analyze and record how your eyes look. Everyone’s retina has unique features; evaluating these characteristics annually allows us to identify quickly any changes that occur. It is important that routine eye care become part of your preventative health care. So, in addition to the regular visits with your primary and specialist physicians, make annual eye exams a top priority!  To schedule your eye exam with one of our eye care specialists, call our office at 784-3937.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States—nearly half of whom are unaware they have the disease. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, The Eye Center of North Florida joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding everyone that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness.

We recommend that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam at age 40. This exam provides us an opportunity to carefully examine your eyes, including the optic nerve, for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision.

Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people:

  • over age 40

  • of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage

  • who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam

  • who are farsighted or nearsighted;

  • who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury

  • whose corneas are thin in the center

  • who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood circulation

Appropriate treatment for glaucoma depends on the specific type and severity of the disease. Medicated eye drops or laser treatments are the most common initial approach. These techniques work by lowering eye pressure to reduce the amount of fluid in the eye, and by increasing fluid outflow from the eye.

For more information on glaucoma or other eye conditions and diseases, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.

If you haven’t had a recent eye exam, please call our office at 784-3937 to schedule with one of our physicians.

New Year’s Eye Safety Tips

New Year’s parties and celebratory toasts are coming this weekend so it’s important to be aware of how to protect your eyes from dangerous hazards associated with New Year’s Eve such as flying corks, fireworks and confetti. You know the old saying, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye,” so let’s make sure we keep New Year’s Eve safe for your eyes.  Here are some tips to ensure eye safety this New Year’s holiday!

September is Healthy Aging Month

Seven Sight-Saving Habits for Older Adults to Help Maintain Independence*

In the United States, 1 in 6 Americans over age 65 has a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. This is often caused by common eye conditions and diseases. Among older Americans, visual impairment is one of the most significant contributors to loss of independence and is associated with a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions, falls, injuries, depression and social isolation.

Here’s a list of seven tips for seniors to follow to help protect their vision:

1. Get an Eye Exam. Adults age 65 and over should get a medical eye exam every year. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting changes in vision, which may be a symptom of a treatable eye disease or condition.

2. Know the Symptoms of Vision Loss. Know the signs of vision loss which includes difficulty reading, writing, watching TV, driving and recognizing faces and objects. Others may notice signs of visions loss such as bumping into or knocking over objects, stepping hesitantly, and squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus.

3. Make Eye-Healthy Food Choices. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Studies show that foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin are good for eye health.

4. Quit Smoking. Avoiding smoking and second hand smoke are some of the best investments you can make for long-term eye health. Smoking increases risk for eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

5. Maintain normal blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. High blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose (sugar) levels all increase the risk of vision loss from an eye disease. Keeping these under control will not only help one’s eyes but also overall health.

6. Get Regular Physical Activity. Regular exercise benefits one’s heart, waistline and energy level and it can also do the eyes a world of good! Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

7. Wear Sunglasses. Exposure to ultra violet (UV) light raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye and cancer. Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection, and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.

 *American Academy of Ophthalmology