Our History

Florida Eye Specialists stand and smile as a group

Care for Life

Florida Eye Specialists is one of the largest multi-specialty practices in Northeast Florida. From routine eye exams to complex surgery using the very latest technology, it’s all here: ophthalmologists and optometrists—all under one roof—and ready to serve you.

Today, we have 13 locations throughout North Florida, and we’re growing. Our practice is owned and operated by medical doctors/ophthalmologists. We’re dedicated to leading the way with the latest advancements to help people see clearly. For example, we were the first in the area with blade-free laser cataract surgery. We continue to lead the way, being the first in the Jacksonville Area with LenSx® laser-assisted cataract surgery.

Our Vision

Florida Eye Specialists represents a consortium of the largest and most respected ophthalmic practices in the Jacksonville area. By bringing in all the top doctors, staff, and administrators, we have built a company that strives for excellence in all aspects of modern eye care.

Dr. Amit Chokshi joined Dr. Gerard Coluccelli in 2008 to bring laser vision correction and cataract care to Jacksonville. Chokshi Vision Center became one of the leading ophthalmic care clinics in Northern Florida.

In 2009, Dr. Rajesh Shetty founded Florida Eye Specialists to become a leader in glaucoma care. In 2011, Dr. Kathryn Freidl joined after training at the prestigious Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. The practice expanded in 2012 to welcome Drs. David Kostick and Akbar Hasan bring a wealth of knowledge from their time as assistant professors at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Ravi Patel opened Eagle Eyecare in 2009 (as a part of North Florida Surgeons) with a focus on cataract and cornea care. The practice quickly grew to become a destination for excellent ophthalmic care in the Riverside area.

nfs_logoThe merged Florida Eye Specialists (as a part of North Florida Surgeons) began in September of 2014, when Florida Eye Specialists, Chokshi Vision Center, and Eagle Eyecare merged their Jacksonville ophthalmic practices. This merger made the group one of the largest in Northern Florida and paved the way for future growth. Prior to the merger in 2012, the group became involved at Southpoint Surgery Center in Jacksonville, Florida. At the time, it was the only surgery center in Northern Florida to offer laser cataract surgery. This was a revolutionary concept that has since been copied many times over.

In 2014, the group expanded to an office in Ponte Vedra, Florida. In 2014, they also added Dr. Rachana Patel to help provide care.

Florida Eye Specialists merged with Maida CustomVision in 2016. Together, Drs. Chokshi, Hasan, and Jerry Maida collaborate at a LASIK-only practice. The addition of LASIK leader and well-respected surgeon Dr. Maida solidifies Florida Eye Specialists as the leader in LASIK in the Jacksonville area.

In early 2019, Florida Eye Specialists merged with The Vassallo Eye and Laser Institute. This launched two new Florida Eye Specialists locations: one in St. Augustine and another in Palatka, bringing the total number of offices to eight.

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 a wider range of services, including additional oculoplastic and cosmetic procedures, to our patients and an even higher level of care.

In January of 2023, Barnhorst Eye & Laser Center, founded by Dr. Donald Barnhorst, merged with Florida Eye Specialists, bringing one new provider and two new locations to the practice. Now with 20 eye doctors across our convenient locations, your eye care is always close to home.

Each merger brought a unique perspective, accomplished doctors, and well-trained staff. Below is a list of the “Legacy Practices” that have been merged together to form the current incarnation of Florida Eye Specialists.

  • Florida Eye Specialists
  • Gerard Coluccelli, MD
  • Chokshi and Coluccelli Eye Institute
  • Chokshi Vision Center
  • Eagle Eyecare
  • Maida CustomVision
  • Vassallo Eye and Laser Institute
  • Nicolitz Eye Consultants
  • Barnhorst Eye & Laser Center

This is how an eye care practice should be – the latest technology in the most experienced hands, guided by professionals who value their patients above all else. This is the future of eye care. This is Florida Eye Specialists.