Meet The Speakers

eye exam
eye exam

Gold Coast Educational Retreat

​​​​​​​Meet the Speakers


Dr. Jessica Steen, FAAO, Dipl. ABO

Dr. Jessica Steen is an Associate Professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry where she serves as Director of the Glaucoma Service and as an attending optometric physician at the College’s Eye Care Institute. Dr. Steen teaches the courses in glaucoma and ocular pharmacology at NSU. Dr. Steen also serves as the Primary Care with Emphasis in Ocular Disease Residency Coordinator. Dr. Steen graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science and completed her residency in Primary Care with Emphasis in Ocular Disease at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Steen’s main clinical interests include glaucoma, retinal disease, neuro-ophthalmic disease with an emphasis in medical and surgical management. Dr. Steen’s research interests are centered on artificial intelligence applications in the management of glaucoma. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry, member of the Optometric Glaucoma Society, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and is Past President of the Palm Beach County Optometric Association.

Leo Semes, OD

Leo P. Semes, OD, earned his OD from PCO and completed residency at The Eye Institute of PCO. He currently holds an appointment as Professor Emeritus of Optometry and Vision Science at UAB.

Dr. Semes has authored numerous articles, book chapters and posters. He is a fellow of the AAO. Dr. Semes is a founding member of the Optometric Glaucoma Society, where he has served as Secretary and on the Executive Committee. He is a founding fellow of the Optometric Retina Society. In 2015 he received the Educator of the Year award from the Alabama Optometric Association. Dr. Semes has authored and contributed to the AAO’s Clinical Practice Guidelines and was recognized as among the 50 most influential in Eye Care in 2015. He has also been recognized with the Dean’s Distinguished Service award (2016) and most recently he was selected to deliver the Springer Memorial Lecture in 2022 at the UAB School of Optometry.

Benjamin J. Thayil, OD

Dr. Ben Thayil is a native of South Florida. He received his Doctorate of Optometry from Nova Southeastern University if 2013 and went on to complete a residency in Ocular Disease at the Bill Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, NC. During his residency, he was named the Floridian most likely to get his car stuck in the snow.

In 2016, Dr. Thayil started his first private practice, Lifetime Vision and Eye Care, in Miami, FL. He serves as immediate Past President and Chairman of the Board for the Broward County Optometric Association. He is also a member of the Florida Optometric, American Optometric Associations, Fellowship of Christian Optometrists.

Dr. Thayil is also a certified speaker, trainer and coach with the Maxwell Leadership Team. He takes special interest in helping fellow Optometrists grow their businesses by implementing strategies for reducing staff turnover, increasing sales, and helping you create a life of freedom by achieving work/life balance. He founded MindSight, Inc., a growth and strategy company to help practitioners ‘See Things Differently.’

Dr. Thayil enjoyed traveling with his lovely wife, Sarah. Recent travels have been on the back burner as Dr. Thayil and his wife welcomed their firstborn into the family in February of 2023.
If you have any questions or comments for Dr. Thayil, feel free to email him at

Matthew Brink, MD

Matthew Brink specializes in Glaucoma and Advanced Anterior Segment Surgery. He was born
and raised in South Africa and moved to the US in 2007. Dr Brink trained with the
world-renowned Dr Ike Ahmed at his highly competitive fellowship program. Dr Brink’s rigorous
fellowship training enables him to treat the most complex glaucoma and anterior segment
pathology. He gained expertise in cutting-edge technologies for the treatment of glaucoma,
cataracts, lens or IOL-based pathology and refractive surgery. Dr Brink consults for multiple
companies in the fields of glaucoma and refractive surgery, and is a board member of the
Florida Glaucoma Society and the Digital Ophthalmic Society. He recently joined Dr David
Goldman and Dr Mark Milner and practices in Palm Beach Gardens

Ana Carolina Victoria, MD, FACS

Her practice is located in Miami, FL, and is dedicated to aesthetic, functional and reconstructive surgery specializing in the face, orbits, eyelids, and the lacrimal system. She is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist by the American Board of Ophthalmology and specialty trained in Craniofacial Plastic, Oculofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

She is a fellow member of the prestigious American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS), the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Dr. Victoria is passionate about delivering personalized care and spends the time needed to fully educate her patients to ensure they are aware of all their options, with a full understanding of the treatment or procedure they are considering. Dr. Victoria offers both surgical and non-surgical treatments, providing patients with a wide range of options and procedures. Dr. Victoria believes in providing the most personalized choices to best suit the patient.

She is proud mother of triplet boys, and enjoys dancing, karaoke, is an expert and avid snowboarder.

Aaron Gold, OD, FAAO

After receiving a bachelor's of science degree in Microbiology and Cell Science from the University of Florida and a bachelor's of science degree in Vision Science from Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Gold earned his Doctor of Optometry degree from Nova Southeastern University. He then worked and taught within the ocular oncology clinic at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute for several years, where he was involved in mentoring optometric students and residents. Currently Dr. Gold is the director of optometric services at Murray Ocular Oncology & Retina, the largest private ocular oncology practice in the southeastern United States. Dr. Gold is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a fellow in the Optometric Retina Society, and a member of the American Optometric Association, the Florida Optometric Association, the Broward County Optometric Association, and the Miami-Dade Optometric Physicians Association. Additionally, Dr. Gold has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles in the field of ocular oncology and vitreo-retinal diseases, is a peer reviewer for multiple academic journals, and continues to mentor optometric students and residents.

Gary Shienbaum, MD

Gary Shienbaum, MD is a specialist in Vitreoretinal Diseases & Surgery at Hollywood Retina Consultants and is dedicated to providing exceptional retina care to individuals and families living throughout South Florida.

Dr. Shienbaum received his Doctor of Medicine degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He performed his medical internship at Albert Einstein Medical Center and his ophthalmology residency at the prestigious Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He then completed a two-year fellowship in Vitreoretinal Diseases & Surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida. Dr. Shienbaum is a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology. He is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Retina Specialists.

Dr. Shienbaum’s clinical interests include advanced treatments for diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, macular hole, macular pucker, retinal vascular disease, retinal detachment, complications of cataract surgery, and ocular infection & inflammation. He has authored numerous scientific peer-reviewed publications on vitreoretinal diseases and has presented his research at both local and national meetings.

Dr. Shienbaum opened Hollywood Retina Consultants with the goal of utilizing the most advanced technology to bring his patients the highest level of retina care. With over 10 years of experience, Dr. Shienbaum has treated the full spectrum of retinal diseases.

Dr. Shienbaum and his team are all fluent in Spanish.

Albert D. Woods, MS, OD, FAAO

Dr. Albert Woods is an Adjunct Professor at Nova Southeastern University, College of Optometry. Dr. Woods graduated from PCO and completed a hospital-based residency at the Baltimore VAMC/Wilmer Eye John Hopkins Hospital. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Cellular Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology. As past director of the NSU Electrodiagnostic Service he has been a co-investigator for NIH retinitis pigmentosa studies. Dr. Woods for over 29 years taught the third-year courses in neuro-eye disease, ocular manifestations of systemic disease, and continues to teach post-graduate Master’s courses in research and advanced ocular disease. Dr. Woods has lectured nationally and internationally on neuro-eye disease, systemic disease, and electrodiagnosis.

David Rouse, OD, FAAO

Dr. David Rouse attended the University of Iowa and pursued his optometric training at the Illinois College of Optometry. He subsequently completed his residency at the Illinois Eye Institute and is in private practice in Weston, Florida.

Dr. Rouse is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and Board Certified by the American Board of Optometry. He has served as President of the Broward County Optometric Association, the Florida Optometric Association and is currently the Vice Chairman of the Florida Board of Optometry. Dr. Rouse presided over the FOA in 2012-2013 when the prescriptive authority for oral medications was signed into law. He is currently a Treasurer of the Southeastern Council of Optometrists, Florida’s Federal Advocacy Representative to the American Optometric Association, and serves as legislative key person for over a dozen state and national legislators. On a local level, Dr. Rouse serves as the Chairman of the Cooper City Planning and Zoning Board.

Stephanie Frankel, OD

Dr. Stephanie Frankel currently utilizes a technology-based scleral lens only practice in an academic setting, targeting visual rehabilitation and treatment of ocular disease using scleral lenses. She completed her undergraduate education at University of Central Florida with dual bachelor’s degrees in biology, as well as Molecular and Micobiology. She then moved on to complete her Doctor of Optometry degree at Nova Southeastern University with honors and voted as Optometry Student of the year.

Shortly after the completion of her doctorate degree she accomplished her residency in ocular disease at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and joined an MD/OD private practice, where she established a successful dry eye clinic that focused on recalcitrant dry eye and began her research in ocular surface disease.

In 2018 she was approached to join the ocular surface team at Bascom Palmer and given the challenge of starting a scleral lens program within the University of Miami/Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Currently, Bascom Palmer is providing scleral lens services in Miami, Plantation and Naples using the newest technology, completes about 600 fittings annually and is continuing to thrive. She now obtains the titles of Director of the Scleral Lens program and Associate Medical director of the Ocular Surface Center of Excellence at the University of Miami/Bascom Palmer Eye Instutute. Her clinic is a rotation for optometry students, optometry residents, PGY3 ophthalmology residents, and is also frequently observed by international ophthalmologists and optometrists.

She is active as a co-investigator in several research studies sponsored by the NIH, with a focus on Phenotypes of Inflammatory and Neuropathic Ocular Pain Conditions using Morphologic Measures and Functional Brain Imaging, as well as Corneal Inflammatory diseases. She is a member of the American Academy of Optometry and is actively undergoing her fellowship in cornea and contact lens. She has also completed several lectures at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute as well as the Inter-American Course in Clinical Ophthalmology. She has completed numerous publications and serves on the medical advisory board of several pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Frankel is happily married to a fellow optometrist and they have two sons together. She has special interests in long-distance running, reading, and overall mental and physical health.

Inna Lazar, OD

Inna Lazar, OD, is a specialist in the treatment of dry eye disease and an expert in myopia management. She earned her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, specializing in advanced ocular surface disease and myopia management. She founded Greenwich Eye Care and Pro Eye Care, practices focused on the diagnosis and management of dry eye disease, offering cutting-edge, drop-less treatments.
In 2022, Dr. Lazar was recognized by Newsweek as one of "America's Best Eye Doctors," and she was also listed in Fairfield County's Business Journal's "40 Under 40 Best Doctors" the same year. Additionally, she received the prestigious "Ambassador of Sight" award from the National Lions Team, an international non-profit organization dedicated to addressing eye care issues and eyeglass needs.

Dr. Lazar serves as a contributor to numerous publications, including Forbes, Newsweek, NY Post, and CNN Underscored, among others.

As a key opinion leader (KOL) in her field, Dr. Lazar leverages her social media platforms and the podcast she co-founded, Transparent Show, to educate her audience on non-traditional eye health topics. She openly discusses medical findings, the benefits and drawbacks of ingredients in well-known brands, and the intersection of eye health with beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Dr. Lazar is a regular public speaker, healthcare consultant, and advisor to leading companies in the eye care industry. She is active on Instagram (@dr.innalazar) and TikTok (@eyeballdoc).

Edward Boshnick, OD

Dr. Boshnick developed a passion for helping patients who suffered vision loss due to trauma while I was serving as an optometrist in the Army. This was during the height of the war in Vietnam when injured troops were being sent to our base which was in Savannah Georgia. Being the only optometrist at his base with one ophthalmologist, he felt that he had the duty and privilege of helping members of the military who suffered eye injuries.

Upon entering private practice this experience convinced Dr. Boshnick to build a contact lens practice and ultimately one of the premier scleral lens practices in North America. His practice is dedicated to helping patients who have lost quality vision and comfort due to corneal disease, surgical complications, and ocular trauma. Dr. Boshnick uses a variety of specialty contact lenses and scleral lenses to accomplish this – his only mission.

Daniel Montenegro, MD

Daniel Montenegro, MD is a board-certified Ophthalmologist specializing in the medical and surgical management of cataract as well as corneal and external diseases. He completed his college education at Barry University in Miami, FL and completed 3 years of biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He completed his medical education and graduated with Summa cum laude honors at the Universidad Central del Caribe in Puerto Rico. He was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honor society for his academic achievements.
Dr. Montenegro completed his Ophthalmology training at the Kresge Eye Institute (KEI) in Detroit alongside some of the best Ophthalmologists and mentors in the country. He pursued a Cornea and External Diseases Fellowship at the prestigious Dean McGee Eye Institute in Oklahoma City, OK.

Before joining Eye Centers of South Florida, he was a faculty member at the Kresge Eye Institute and the John. D. Dingell VA Hospital. He served as a mentor for future generations of Ophthalmologists and provided care for our country’s Veterans. He directed a busy Cornea service providing medical and surgical care for corneal diseases including corneal dystrophies, corneal ectasias (i.e. keratoconus), corneal ulcers, corneal scars, ocular surface tumors, and dry eyes.
Dr. Montenegro performs full-thickness, partial thickness, and endothelial keratoplasty corneal transplants (DSAEK). Additionally, refractive cataract surgery comprises a large portion of Dr. Montenegro’s practice. He understands how important eye surgery is for you and will take the time to discuss the latest intraocular lens (IOL) options and help you choose the lens implant that best fits your needs.

Dr. Montenegro chose Ophthalmology as his profession because he embraces the complexity of the eye and its close relationship with your health. He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).
During his free time, Dr. Montenegro enjoys reading books, exercising, and spending time with his wife Ana Carolina and two children, Daniel and Clara.

welcome none 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Closed Closed