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The Florida Society of Ophthalmology

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FSO Installs New Leadership at Annual Business Meeting

Sarah Wellik, MD, Elected as President of The Florida Society of Ophthalmology

Drs. Perez, Ruttig, Nezgoda, Goldhardt, Bovee Round Out Board Executive Leadership Team


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – (September 16, 2020) – Bascom Palmer Eye Institute glaucoma specialist Sarah R. Wellik, MD, was recently elected Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO) president. The election was held during the FSO Annual Business Meeting, which took place through a virtual platform on September 15.

As FSO president, Wellik will guide the nonprofit association, which represents more than 500 medical doctors focused on preserving the medical and surgical specialty of ophthalmology. In addition to active participation in legislative advocacy and the dissemination of responsible information to physicians and patients throughout the state, the FSO also provides continuing medical education opportunities.

The FSO also announced the elections of Javier Perez, MD as president-elect, Nate Ruttig, MD, as vice president of advocacy, Joseph Nezgoda, MD, as vice president of education, Raquel Goldhardt, MD, as vice president of outreach and Courtney Bovee, MD, as secretary/treasurer.

Darby Miller, MD, who preceded Wellik as president, will assume the role of immediate past president, and Krishna Kishor, MD, will move into the role of past president.

Wellik, who also previously served as FSO’s Public Relations Committee Chair, is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences and graduated Cum Laude. She subsequently received her medical degree from the University of California, Irvine and completed a medical internship at Yale University and residency in ophthalmology at Boston University.

Wellik did a Clinical Glaucoma Fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami and has remained on staff at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Miami Veterans Affairs Hospital as an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology. She is active in glaucoma clinical research, as well as resident and fellow training, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed literature. For her leadership within the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) she has received the AAO Achievement Award and the AAO Eye Care America Service Award. Dr. Wellik was also a participant in the AAO’s 2020 Leadership Development Program.


Perez, a board-certified glaucoma and cataract specialist, performs surgeries and practices surgical management of patients in the Orlando area. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.

From 2004 to 2011, he served in the U.S. Navy as a member of the Navy Medical Corps, completing his Transitional Internship at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He also completed Navy Diving Training in Panama City, FL.  He served most of his active duty commitment as a Diving Medical Officer in Pearl Harbor, HI where he supported the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Submarine Pacific Fleet and Navy Diving School in Ford Island, HI.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy, he completed his ophthalmology training at University of Florida in Gainesville and glaucoma fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. 

Ruttig is a board-certified comprehensive ophthalmologist and practice administrator of Eye MD of Niceville in Niceville, Fla. An Ohio native, he received his bachelor's degree and medical degree simultaneously as part of the six-year combined BS/MD program at Youngstown State University and Northeastern Ohio University's College of Medicine in Rootstown, Ohio.

Upon graduating in 2000, Ruttig served in the U.S. Navy, completing his internship in Internal Medicine at the Naval Hospital Portsmouth in Portsmouth, Va., received his aviation medicine training at NAS Pensacola, Fla., and concluded his service at Training Air Wing Four in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he served as the VT-35 Stingrays flight surgeon from 2002 to 2006.

At the end of his naval commitment, Ruttig furthered his education as a resident of ophthalmology at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich. He worked in private practice for five years before starting Eye MD of Niceville.

Nezgoda is a fellowship-trained vitreoretinal disease and surgery specialist practicing in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

A former researcher at the world-renowned National Institutes of Health, he graduated with honors from Georgetown University and attended medical school at Rutgers-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where he received the Excellence in Teaching Award. He did his advanced training at Einstein Medical Center, Mount Sinai at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Case Western University/The Cleveland Medical Center and The University of California. His practice focuses on Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Eye Disease, Retinal Vein Occlusions, and other conditions of the retina.

For his humanitarian work and research efforts Nezgoda has received both the esteemed Leadership in Medicine Award from the American Medical Association and the Achievement Award of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Goldhardt is an associate professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, as well as a cataract, retina and uveitis specialist with the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare Center. She received her MD degree from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. She completed ophthalmology residency at Santa Casa Hospital, Brazil. She then completed a clinical fellowship in Uveitis and AIDS at the Paulista School of Medicine at Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Her research focuses on novel imaging techniques for macular degeneration, Stargardt’s disease, corneal nerves analysis after anti-VEGF injections, quality of life following cataract extraction in AMD patients, biomarkers of ocular Gulf War illness, and was the first to describe posterior subhyaloid precipitates associated with cytomegalovirus retinitis. Dr. Goldhardt has been a critical figure in the national and international physician education while playing an active role in the inclusion and diversity, admission, and executive committees for the University of Miami and leading mission trips to South America, Mexico, and China.

Bovee is a glaucoma specialist most recently at the Mid Florida Eye Center, in Mount Dora. She has been an active member on the FSO Board serving in several positions including as Vice President of Outreach, Delegate to the Florida Medical Association and will serve as the Secretary/Treasurer for the 2020-2021 term. In addition, she has also served as the Chair of the glaucoma subspecialty section and resident research section for the FSOs annual meeting committee.  

Bovee earned her medical degree from the University of South Florida and completed residency training at UCLA Harbor in Los Angeles and Eastern Virginia Medical School – Ophthalmology in Norfolk, Va.  She completed glaucoma fellowship training at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, a division of the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology, where she was named the 2015-2016 Ruthanne and Richard Simmons Glaucoma Fellow by the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology.

During residency Bovee was awarded the Kenneth Tuck Resident Advocate Award for her commitment to advocacy. She also has been the recipient of the Pfizer/AMA Foundation Excellence in Medicine Leadership Award from the American Medical Association Foundation.





The Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO) has a rich history of serving patients since its founding in 1939 as the Florida Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. Today, the organization represents more than 500 physician members throughout the state and is focused on advancing patient care and protecting the medical specialty of ophthalmology. For more information, please visit the FSO website at




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