Lee County/Horizon Council now accepting applications for the 25th annual Industry Appreciation Awards honoring local businesses

HC 25 Anniversary logoTo salute excellence in Lee County’s business community, the Lee County Economic Development Office and the Horizon Council are seeking submissions for the 25th annual Industry Appreciation Awards. The honorees will be recognized during the Industry Appreciation luncheon on Thursday, Aug. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Estero. Networking begins at 10:30 a.m. and the program is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Horizon Council will honor businesses in four categories:

  • the LocalLee Grown Business Award will be awarded to a company that was founded in Lee County and is distinguished by its operational excellence and commitment to the vibrance of Southwest Florida’s business climate;
  • the Business Citizenship Award honors a company whose financial, volunteer and active involvement in organizations and programs have helped create a better quality of life in Lee County;
  • the Emerging Business Leader Award will be awarded to a relative newcomer to Lee County that is experiencing marked growth while introducing inventive products, services or business practices;
  • the Bruce T. Gora Legacy Award has been added to honor the 25th anniversary of the Industry Appreciation Awards. It recognizes an individual who during the last 25 years has established a history of distinguished service and contributions to the betterment and growth of Lee County’s business community.

Applications for the 2016 Industry Appreciation Awards are now being accepted online at LeeCountyBusiness.com. The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 27.

The Horizon Council is a public-private board established in 1991 to advise the Lee County Board of Commissioners on economic development issues. The Council has over 70members representing six cities; chambers of commerce; economic development and trade organizations; community, business, and education organizations; along with various officers and at-large members.  TheLee County Economic Development Office works to attract new and diversified businesses to the area, and improve the overall business environment in Lee County. For more information, visit www.leecountybusiness.com or call 239-338-3161.

KOVA Partners appoints John Zizzo as property and association manager for KOVA Property Management

John ZizzoKOVA Partners, LLC is pleased to announce the hiring of John Zizzo, CAM, as a property and association manager for KOVA Property Management. In his position at KOVA Property Management, Zizzo will be responsible for managing a variety of areas within the division, including properties, vendors, tenants and associations.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Zizzo holds a bachelor’s degree from National Louis University. Prior to joining KOVA Property Management, Zizzo obtained 15 years of experience as a real estate broker and property manager for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. Zizzo currently holds Florida Community Association Manager (CAM) and Florida Real Estate Sales Associate licenses and holds certifications in Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPOR) and Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR) from the National Association of Realtors. His wide range of expertise includes sales, property management, construction and real estate.

About KOVA Partners, LLC

KOVA Partners, LLC is a privately owned, full-service real estate firm and real estate investment fund manager engaged in the development, financing, investment, managing, insurance and leasing of a wide array of real estate investment products and services. With offices in Naples and Bonita Springs, as well as numerous strategic partnerships with third party affiliates, KOVA Partners is comprised of KOVA Commercial, KOVA Property Management and KOVA Insurance Group, and prides itself on its ability to enhance profitability for all of its clients through strategic partnerships and effective solutions. For additional information about KOVA Partners, LLC, please visit www.KOVAPartners.com or call 239-261-2627.

KOVA Partners expands portfolio, launches KOVA Insurance Group

KOVA - Daniel Bolduc David Bolduc Anthony EmmaKOVA Partners, LLC is pleased to announces the launch of its latest division of services, KOVA Insurance Group, LLC (KIG). Led by David P. Bolduc, CFA, ARM, ARe and Daniel G. Bolduc, CPCU, KOVA’s newest offering provides clients a comprehensive approach to the management of real estate assets by combining the expertise of a fully integrated, full-service commercial real estate firm with insurance principals who possess an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of risk management pertaining to commercial properties.

The opportunity to expand KOVA Partners current repertoire of services was led by Anthony Emma, CEO and managing member of KOVA Partners, who invested as a partner with Lely Insurance to form KIG. Currently managing three million square feet of property, KOVA Partners presents a versatile portfolio of services, offering clients a tailored approach to the commercial insurance industry, and this acquisition will allow the company to continue to broaden its span of internal services available to clients. Specializing in the commercial real estate industry, KIG will have the distinctive ability to identify which insurance companies and coverages best fit each client based on their individual location, construction, age and square footage risk profile, and can evaluate clients’ insurance programs for coverage gaps and need for additional coverage to enhance their overall insurance programs.

“Following our motto of investing in people, our goal is to work on behalf of our clients to reduce operating expenses while providing the key services they need to promote growth. Incorporating insurance services into the mix allows KOVA to go above and beyond our call to provide a one-stop shop experience dedicated to the protection and management of our clients’ real estate assets,” Emma said. “Through KIG, we now have the ability to sit down with our clients and reassess risk and current premiums in order to pinpoint the areas within their coverage that need to be improved upon. This new division extends our range of service to prospective clients, and paves the way for current clients to enjoy yet another service available through KOVA Partners that will promote long-term benefits within their businesses.”

David Bolduc began his career as an underwriter with American International Group (AIG) where he was responsible for underwriting commercial insurance programs for several Fortune 500 corporations in New England and eastern Canada. He later joined Strategic Risk Solutions as a risk analyst where he performed a number of captive insurance feasibility studies, and also assisted in the management of a Bermuda-based reinsurance company focused on hurricane and earthquake catastrophe-prone commercial property insurance programs. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from Brown University, and holds the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and Associate in Reinsurance (ARe) designations from the Insurance Institute, and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) investment designation from the CFA Institute.

Daniel Bolduc’s past experience includes ownership of a successful insurance firm in Maine, where he successfully transformed a small agency into a flourishing business. He has earned the prestigious Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, a premier designation in the property and casualty insurance industry that is held by just over two percent of all those employed in the insurance industry in the United States. Achieving the designation requires completion of courses covering topics such as insurance law, history, contracts, property insurance, liability insurance, operations, rate making and risk management. Before entering the insurance industry, Daniel Bolduc served as a professional hockey player, represented the United States at two World Championships and is a former member of the 1976 USA Olympic Hockey Team and 1976 USA Canada Cup Team. He played college hockey at Harvard University, reaching two NCAA Frozen Fours, and winning two Beanpot Championships.

About KOVA Partners, LLC

KOVA Partners, LLC is a privately owned, full-service real estate firm and real estate investment fund manager engaged in the development, financing, investment, managing, insurance and leasing of a wide array of real estate investment products and services. With offices in Naples and Bonita Springs, as well as numerous strategic partnerships with third party affiliates, KOVA Partners is comprised of KOVA Commercial, KOVA Property Management and KOVA Insurance Group, and prides itself on its ability to enhance profitability for all of its clients through strategic partnerships and effective solutions. For additional information about KOVA Partners, LLC, please visit www.KOVAPartners.com or call 239-261-2627.

School District of Lee County participating in Diversity Teacher Recruitment Virtual Career Fair April 19

 

SimpLEEtheBest_Approved logo-web

Prospective educators are invited to chat with representatives from The School District of Lee County, Florida at the Diversity Teacher Recruitment Virtual Career Fair, hosted by DIVERSITY in Ed, on April 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST at www.CareerEco.com/events/DiversityinEd. The District is currently hiring for the 2016-2017 school year, and diverse candidates who are seeking careers in the field of education will have an opportunity to learn more about the School District of Lee County and take part in one-on-one chats with District representatives in a live virtual setting.

The District’s efforts to put “The Right Talent in the Right Place” mean that new teachers will receive the support and necessary resources that will enable them to share their talents and succeed upon entering the field of education. A full range of teaching positions are available for future educators, as the District is currently seeking elementary teachers for grades K-5, special education teachers, science and mathematics teachers, and reading and language arts teachers. For current listings, visit the District’s career page at www.leeschools.net/careers.

The School District of Lee County serves more than 93,000 students in 96 schools and is the ninth-largest school district in Florida. Located on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, the District serves Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres and Alva. People come from all over the world to enjoy Lee County’s beautiful beaches, boating, fishing, watersports and nature attractions. Most importantly, Lee County is a community of people who care about the education of children.

The School District of Lee County provides competitive benefits, and continuing education opportunities are available at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida SouthWestern State College and other local colleges and universities. The District includes a Microsoft Certified High School, Dunbar High School; a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, The Sanibel School; and one of the top International Baccalaureate High Schools in the world, Fort Myers High School.

Registration for the Diversity Teacher Recruitment Virtual Career Fair is free and open to all jobseekers. For more information or to register, visit www.CareerEco.com/events/DiversityinEd. For more information on applying to the School District of Lee County, email careers@leeschools.net.

About The School District of Lee County: Lee County Public Schools is the ninth-largest district in Florida and the 33rd-largest district in the United States. The District educates more than 93,000 students in grades K-12 and is a model for others in the state and around the nation. With approximately 10,000 full- and part-time employees, the District is one of the county’s largest employers. As the District builds new schools and renovates and expands existing facilities to accommodate the unprecedented growth experienced in the last several years, the District has become one of Southwest Florida’s largest developers.

Stevens Construction completes Unity of Fort Myers

Stevens Construction has completed construction of a new addition to the campus of Unity of Fort Myers, announced Mark Stevens, company president.

Unity of Fort Myers - Interior

Stevens Construction added a 7,060-square-foot building, which houses a 400-seat sanctuary, a dais, bridal suite, restrooms and lobby. Construction occurred while the church remained in operation.

The construction team included project manager, Mark Battaglia; superintendent, Brian Oliver, and project administrator, April Kelley. The design services were provided by Christopher J. Lee Architects, Inc.

With offices in Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Stevens Construction specializes in providing construction management, general contracting and consulting services to clients and design professionals. Other services include site and design team selection, budgeting, project scheduling, permitting, cost and quality control and warranty service. The company builds healthcare, commercial and hospitality facilities. For information, visit www.stevensconstructioninc.com or call 239-936-9006.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida to host Earth Day Festival April 16

Earth Day 2015 Photo 1

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida invites Southwest Florida to join in celebrating our water, land, wildlife and future by hosting its annual Earth Day Festival on April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Conservancy, located at 1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples.

“Our annual Earth Day Festival provides a fun for all ages and family-friendly atmosphere for our community to celebrate the Earth, while learning about the unique qualities of nature that make the world we live in so special,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “As our biggest community celebration of the year, we are pleased to have the opportunity to share our love for the Earth with people of all ages, and hope to instill our commitment to preserving its natural beauty within the minds of our guests as well.”

New ThEarth Day 2015 Photo 3is Year

The festival has many great new activities this year including Glen Beitman of “Super Science and Amazing Art” will also present an interactive edu-tainment show entitled Everglades Interactive at noon. Children will have the opportunity to participate in science experiments throughout the day in the Kids’ Zone.  Also new this year is h
ands-on activities with Snapology Legos Presents “Nature’s Super Transformers,” live music from the Bug Tussle Ramblers, and a bounce house. A special treat is meeting the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s newest member, its loggerhead sea turtle. The naming announcement will take place 11:30 a.m.

Back by Popular Demand

Along with new events, programs and shows, many special presentations will be featured throughout the day, including the Naples Zoo’s popular Earth Day 2015 Photo 2animal show with live animals, a reptile show, the “Wings of Wonder” live bird program, a special “Pythons in Paradise” presentation led by a Conservancy biologist and a children’s book reading of “Salty the Sea Turtle.” Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Gordon B. Eagle, the Conservancy mascot.

PreK Fun

For the youngest guests, the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’mon) will be hosting special family-friendly day-long activities. The Little Explorer Play Zone and Jr. Vet Lab will be open for play for children under six, and the Kids’ Zone will feature a variety of activities for children, including games, crafts, face painting and sand art.

Free Gifts

As a part of Earth Day festivities, the first 50 guests will receive a free Conservancy of Southwest Florida t-shirt. Guests who renew or become a Conservancy of Southwest Florida Member at the Earth Day Festival will receive a free gift.

Admission Prices and Sponsors

Offering a fun day of celebration for the whole family, admission to the eco-friendly event is $10 for adults, $5 for Earth Day 2015 Photo 5children and free for children under 2 years old. Admission is free for Conservancy of Southwest Florida members. For more information about the Earth Day Festival, call 239-430-2466 or visit www.Conservancy.org/EarthDay.

Presented in partnership with Community Foundation of Collier County, Naples Daily News and D’Latinos, the Conservancy’s largest community event of the year will feature a variety of vendors and environmental exhibitors showcasing educational and entertaining family activities and experiences for guests to enjoy. Guests are invited to play and learn while experiencing the many interactive exhibits, features and amenities offered at the Conservancy Nature Center, and can take electric boat rides from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with advanced registration, rent a kayak from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or take a stroll along a nature trail.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues Earth Day 2015 Photo 4impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Lee County to host 2016 Open Water Festival April 8-10 at Miromar Lakes

2015 Open Water Festival-5 Lee County will once again host the world’s top open water swimmers during the 2016 Open Water Festival at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, to be held Friday, April 8, through Sunday, April 10. During the weekend event, open water swimmers will compete in the USA Swimming’s 2016 Open Water National Championships, vying for spots on the USA Swimming Open Water National Team, National Junior Team and Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) Open Water World Junior Championships Team.

The 2016 Open Water Festival will include events on all three days, utilizing Miromar Lakes’ 700-acre freshwater lake. The USA Swimming 2016 10K Open Water National Championships will be held Friday. Saturday’s events include youth 2.5K and 5K races, the Florida Swimming Open Water Championships, Local Swim Club All-Star Challenge, the Open Water Clinic, the Buddy Swim and the Crippen Mile. Sunday will feature the USA Swimming 2016 5K Open Water National Championships.

Last year’s tournament ge2015 Open Water Festival-4nerated about $200,000 in direct economic impact for Lee County, including roughly 800 hotel room nights and $4,500 in resort tax collections, according to Jeff Mielke, executive director of Lee County Sports Development.

The 2016 Open Water Festival at Miromar Lakes will bring competitive swimmers from around the world to Lee County. Countries to be represented include Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand, Tunisia, Germany and the United States. The international swimmers will compete in the 5K and 10K races, as well as the Crippen Mile.

“The 2016 Open Water Festival provides a great opportunity for athletes to showcase their talents as they compete against the world’s top open water swimmers,” said Dana Kasler, Director of Lee County Parks & Recreation. “Our department is excited to once again be a part of hosting this event and coo
rdinating all of the safety components for the festival. The county parks aquatics staff have worked closely with USA Swimming officials to establish the open water safety protocols and guidelines used nationally for many years.”  2015 Open Water Festival-1

Mielke said the return of the event to Lee County is a great way for locals and visitors to see impressive swimmers from around the world compete. “Competitions like the Open Water Festival raises national attention for Southwest Florida, providing our community the opportunity to become established as a popular destination for top-notch sporting events and competitions, and Miromar Lakes has been a great partner over the years to put our community on the map,” he said.

Miromar Lakes was first identified by USA Swimming in 2007 to host the Championship Trials due to its ideal climate and lake conditions that parallel the open water competition settings in Seville and Beijing. USA Swimming officials have called Miromar Lakes “The Best” location and amenities they have seen in their travels to races ar2015 Open Water Festival-3ound the world. Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club has received more than 150 local, regional, national and international awards including the Gold Award for #1 Community in the United States from the National Association of Home Builders and #1 Clubhouse in the United States.  Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club is the only community in the state of Florida to have won this prestigious award in the history of the NAHB National Awards program.

The 2016 Open Water Festival is open for spectators. For more information on the 2016 Open Water Festival, visit www.OpenWaterFestival.org. For more information on USA Swimming, visit www.USASwimming.org.

About Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club2015 Open Water Festival-2

Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club offers a 700-acre freshwater lake, three miles of private white sand beach, European-style spa with full-service salon, fitness center with personal training studio and aerobics room, 10,000 square foot zero-edge pool, two marinas, seven Har-Tru tennis courts, three restaurants and a dynamic social scene, all within one luxurious location.  Other amenities include concierge services and marine services. For the avid golfer, the Miromar Lakes Golf Club has the only Arthur Hills “Signature” Championship Golf Course in Southwest Florida, a 2015 Golfweek’s Best Residential Course of Distinction. Move-in ready and new construction homes are available for immediate purchase. New homes are available starting from $1 million to over $7 million. Visit Miromar Lakes, Florida, just north of Naples, at exit 123 off I-75. For more information, please contact the Sales Center at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club at 239-425-2340 or 877-809-9444, or online at: MiromarLakes.com.

About Lee County Sports Development

Lee County Sports Development was created in 2003 to meet the growing demand for sports development in Lee County, and is recognized by the Florida Sports Foundation as one of the state’s 25 Regional Sports Commissions. The Lee County Sports Development office leads the recruitment and implementation of amateur and professional sports events and activities in Lee County, with the goal of providing economic impact to Lee County. Through local partnerships with Lee County Parks & Recreation and others, the Lee County Sports Development office provides services designed to address the needs of local, national and international sports entities including housing, access to venues, event management, transportation assistance, event promotion, marketing and local sponsorship opportunities. For more information, call 239-533-5273 or visit www.leegov.com/sports.

School District of Lee County coming to Florida SouthWestern State College Career Fair April 6

Picture1

Prospective educators are invited to visit with teachers and administrators from The School District of Lee County, Florida at the Florida SouthWestern State College Career Fair. The District is currently hiring for the 2016-2017 school year, and representatives from the District will be at the career fair on Wednesday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW), located at 8099 College Parkway in Fort Myers. The fair will be open to FSW students from 10 a.m. to noon, and will open to the public from noon to 2 p.m.

The District’s efforts to put “The Right Talent in the Right Place” mean that new teachers will receive the support and necessary resources that will enable them to share their talents and succeed upon entering the field of education. A full range of teaching positions are available for future educators, as the District is currently seeking elementary teachers for grades K-5, special education teachers, science and mathematics teachers, and reading and language arts teachers. For current listings, visit the District’s career page at www.leeschools.net/careers.

The School District of Lee County serves more than 93,000 students in 96 schools and is the ninth-largest school district in Florida. Located on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, the District serves Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres and Alva. People come from all over the world to enjoy Lee County’s beautiful beaches, boating, fishing, watersports and nature attractions. Most importantly, Lee County is a community of people who care about the education of children.

The School District of Lee County provides competitive benefits, and continuing education opportunities are available at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida SouthWestern State College and other local colleges and universities. The District includes a Microsoft Certified High School, Dunbar High School; a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, The Sanibel School; and one of the top International Baccalaureate High Schools in the world, Fort Myers High School.

Candidates are asked to bring a copy of their resume to the career fair. For more information on applying to the School District of Lee County, email careers@leeschools.net.

About The School District of Lee County: Lee County Public Schools is the ninth-largest district in Florida and the 33rd-largest district in the United States. The District educates more than 93,000 students in grades K-12 and is a model for others in the state and around the nation. With approximately 10,000 full- and part-time employees, the District is one of the county’s largest employers. As the District builds new schools and renovates and expands existing facilities to accommodate the unprecedented growth experienced in the last several years, the District has become one of Southwest Florida’s largest developers.

School District of Lee County to host 2016 Spring Teacher Recruitment Fair

Picture1

The School District of Lee County is hosting its 2016 Spring Teacher Recruitment Fair for future District employees on Thursday, April 28 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lee County Public Education Center, 2855 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers. Those interested in receiving an invitation to the fair can register on the School District of Lee County website at www.leeschools.net/teacher-recruitment-fair to the “Teacher Recruitment Fair for Future Employees” vacancy, using Job ID 20160420. Registration must be completed by April 15. All eligible candidates will receive an email invitation to attend the event by April 19, and must RSVP by April 25.

The School District of Lee County will host a separate event for current District employees on Thursday, April 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. Current District employees interested in applying for new teaching positions are asked to log on to their private PeopleSoft account on the School District of Lee County website and select the “Teacher Recruitment Fair for Current Employees” vacancy, using Job ID 20160419.

The District is currently hiring to fill a range of teaching positions, including elementary teachers for grades K-5, special education teachers, science and mathematics teachers, and reading and language arts teachers. For current listings, visit the District’s career page at www.leeschools.net/careers. Representatives from schools throughout Lee County will be in attendance to conduct interviews, and will be hiring for the 2016-2017 school year. Potential educators are encouraged to arrange interviews in advance; a list of participating schools will be available on www.leeschools.net/teacher-recruitment-fair prior to the event. Candidates are asked to come prepared with a supply of resumes, copies of letters of reference, copies of teaching certificate or statement of eligibility, and a general idea of preferred schools.

Necessary qualifications include bachelor’s degree or higher, valid Florida teacher certification covering appropriate area of responsibility, demonstrated proficiency in oral and written communication, demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups and experience with industry-standard computer applications. Alternatives to these qualifications are permitted as the Lee County School Board finds appropriate and acceptable.

The School District of Lee County serves more than 93,000 students in 96 schools and is the ninth-largest school district in Florida. Located on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, the District serves Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres and Alva. People come from all over the world to enjoy Lee County’s beautiful beaches, boating, fishing, watersports and nature attractions. Most importantly, Lee County is a community of people who care about the education of children.

The School District of Lee County provides competitive benefits, and continuing education opportunities are available at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida SouthWestern State College and other local colleges and universities. The District includes a Microsoft Certified High School, Dunbar High School; a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, The Sanibel School; and one of the top International Baccalaureate High Schools in the world, Fort Myers High School.

For more information about the 2016 Spring Teacher Recruitment Fair for future District employees, call 239-337-8640, email careers@leeschools.net or visit www.leeschools.net/teacher-recruitment-fair.

About The School District of Lee County: Lee County Public Schools is the ninth-largest district in Florida and the 33rd-largest district in the United States. The District educates more than 93,000 students in grades K-12 and is a model for others in the state and around the nation. With approximately 10,000 full- and part-time employees, the District is one of the county’s largest employers. As the District builds new schools and renovates and expands existing facilities to accommodate the unprecedented growth experienced in the last several years, the District has become one of Southwest Florida’s largest developers.

Retina Health Center awarded patents for eye drop imaging technology to monitor patient eye drop technique and compliance

Dr. Alexander Eaton

Retina Health Center has been issued design patents for a new eye drop imaging device developed by Eaton and his colleagues at Retina Health Center. The patents, No. D750773 and No. D751702 and were awarded on March 1 and 15 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The utility patents on the device are still pending.

Understanding patient ability to properly instill their eye drops and comply with a prescribed regiment at home is critical in helping eye doctors select the right treatment option for a patient.  Until recently, getting accurate data on patients’ at-home drop installation has not been possible.   Indirect measures of eye drop use have been used such as weighting the bottle to determine how many drops were used or electronic monitoring systems that can determine if the bottle was picked up or inverted, but existing systems have not been able to determine if the drop(s) actually got into the eye.  A patient can think they are complying but if they forget to take the top off the drop bottle, or they miss their eye and the drop lands on their lid or face, they may not be receiving the benefit of the medication they have been prescribed. To monitor patients’ eye drop technique and compliance, Retina Health Center physicians developed a new compact imaging device to allow physicians to monitor patient eye drop use at home, as well as during patient visits at Retina Health Center offices.

Using the newly developed imaging system created by Retina Health Center, the physicians have launched the first-ever at-home studies to evaluate the drop delivery and compliance of patients at home.  Prior to use at home, patients were trained on the use of the device in the clinic and then completed the in-clinic portion of the studyEye Drop Imaging Device-2.

A collaborative study between Retina Health Center and the Konowal Vision Center followed 37 post-surgical cataract patients in the clinic phase and 38 cataract surgical patients participated in the home study.  Following the videotaping, researchers compared the actual video to the patients’ reporting of the number of drops applied and how many drops landed in the eye.  Patients were found to consistently underestimate the number of drops they applied while trying to get a drop in their eye, and overestimated the number of drops that actually landed in their eye.

Retina Health Center also evaluated the number of patients that can properly apply a drop, which is to deliver one drop per application without the tip coming in contact with the eye lashes, the eye itself or the skin. Nearly 90 percent of patients were not able to properly deliver the eye drops at least once during the clinic phase. In the at-home phase, none of the subjects were able to perform proper drop applications for every attempt during their regimen.

“The results show that there is great opportunity to improve drop delivery with the direct feedback patients can get from our easy-to-use device,” said Eaton. “This pilot study has confirmed previous reports of difficulties that patients experience when administering eye drops, and has further shown that thePatent imaging device can provide a unique insight for physicians and patients alike. During drop administration, patients often blink and the drops may land on the lid and/or the conjunctiva, all of which happened quickly, making it very difficult to determine what exactly happened by the patient. Our study shows that the imaging system can provide physicians with an objective measurement of when and how many drops are getting into the patient’s eye. We are hoping that the imaging system will help physicians tailor therapeutic decisions more accurately for each patient and can help researchers evaluate new drop therapies. We are optimistic that much the way athletes view videos of themselves to improve their game, that patients, physicians and physicians’ staff will be able to use the videos to improve their drop technique and that this will result in better outcomes and less waste for people throughout the world.”

An Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved study is currently under way to evaluate if the system can be used to improve drop delivery in patients that have difficulties with drop installation and compliance.  In addition to helping patients, physicians and their staff, the device may help manufacturers improve their understanding of how the eye drop bottle shape and tip shape can affect a patient’s drop delivery and compliance, and can help them determine if medications they are evaluating Eye Drop Imaging Device-3for FDA approval are being used at the proper time and are actually properly getting into the patient’s eye.

Retina Health Center and the Macular Degeneration Research Center were established in 2002 by Dr. Alexander M. Eaton, a long-time Southwest Florida resident, who has been practicing ophthalmology in Lee and Collier counties for more than 20 years. Dr. Eaton has been the principal investigator for numerous studies to prevent and treat macular degeneration, and has invented numerous medical devices for use by patients and physicians that are used worldwide. For more information on the latest studies or to make an appointment, call 239-337-3337 in Fort Myers or 239-793-5200 in Naples, or visit www.retinahealthcenter.com.