About Us

Florida Eye Specialists stand and smile as a group

The physicians and staff of Florida Eye Specialists are united by a common passion for excellence in eye care. Our doctors have dedicated numerous years of medical school, residency, fellowship, and post-fellowship training to eye disease research and education. Each doctor is uniquely qualified in a subspecialty of ophthalmology.

Prior to founding Florida Eye Specialists in 2009, Dr. Rajesh Shetty spent seven years as an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic. In 2011, Dr. Kathryn Freidl joined him after training at the prestigious Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. The practice expanded in 2012 to welcome Dr. David Kostick, who brings a wealth of knowledge from his 16 years as an assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. S. Akbar Hasan, who served as assistant professor and lead cataract and LASIK surgeon at the Mayo Clinic for ten years. Both doctors bring tremendous clinical experience to our practice.

In 2014, we announced the equal merging of Florida Eye Specialists, Chokshi Vision Center, and Eagle Eye Care Group. Combining practices has allowed us to provide new services and specialties and add convenient availability for our patients. Among the merging doctors are board-certified ophthalmologists Dr. Amit Chokshi, Dr. Ravi Patel, Dr. Rachana Patel, and optometrist Dr. Kim Riordan. The combined practice continues to be known as Florida Eye Specialists.

Dr. Jerry Maida joined the Florida Eye team in 2016. This collaboration merged his practice, Maida CustomVision, with Drs. Chokshi and Hasan to create a LASIK-only location. Dr. Maida is a renowned refractive surgeon who pioneered LASIK surgery in Northeast Florida. His expertise and respected name in the medical community have been an invaluable addition to Florida Eye Specialists.

In early 2019, The Vassallo Eye and Laser Institute merged with Florida Eye Specialists. 

In May of 2021, Nicolitz Eye Consultants, founded by Dr. Ernst Nicolitz, merged with Florida Eye Specialists, bringing four new providers to the practice. This collaboration brings an even higher level of care to our patients, as well as a wider range of services, including additional oculoplastic and cosmetic procedures. With 18 eye doctors across our convenient locations, your eye care is always close to home. 

Together, our team of specialists has developed one of the leading eye care centers in Florida with an emphasis on compassionate, patient-centered treatments. Our goal is to provide excellence in eye care to each and every patient.

Click here to learn more about the history of Florida Eye Specialists.


The board-certified fellowship-trained physicians at Florida Eye Specialists are recognized in their respective ophthalmic subspecialties for their leadership and contributions to the advancement of eye care. Our doctors are engaged in clinical trials and frequently lecture to other eye doctors locally and at national meetings. They were the first to introduce many state-of-the-art surgical techniques and eye procedures to Northeast Florida.

Please contact us at 904-564-2020 to determine if you are eligible for any clinical research trials.

What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist?

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (M.D.) with medical school training specifically trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from diagnosing disorders to treating eye diseases and performing various types of eye surgery. 

An optometrist is an eye doctor of optometry (O.D.) licensed to practice optometry, specializing in vision correction. The practice of optometry traditionally involves examining the eye for the purpose of prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, screening vision to detect certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.

At Florida Eye Specialists, our optometrists work alongside our ophthalmologists to provide post-operative care, address urgent or specialty issues, and ensure that patients receive well-rounded care at each clinic visit.

Ophthalmology Services Provided

The Florida Eye Specialists is a comprehensive eye care practice that features a complete spectrum of ophthalmology services. Our surgical services include cataract surgery, LASIK eye surgery, corneal procedures, glaucoma treatment options, oculoplastic eyelid surgery, dry eye treatment, and even cosmetic and skin care services.