Ten Ways To Make the Most of Your Winter in Citrus

  1. Attend a festival. November through January is the peak time for festivals and celebrations in Citrus County. Annual gatherings like the Inverness Festival of the Arts, Homosassa Arts, Crafts and Seafood Festival, Manatee Festival, annual markets and craft shows, and countless holiday celebrations dot the social calendar to enhance your season’s experience. Grab a friend and get to making the most of the winter months in central Florida.
  2. Play a round of golf or set of tennis on a perfect, crisp morning. Florida is known for its year-round favorable temperatures, and the fall and winter months are most ideal for outdoor activities. As the mornings get cooler, players often net their best scores in the comfortable, less humid weather. What are you waiting for? Book your tee or court time today.
  3. See the manatees. Enjoy some serenity along the coast and visit Citrus’ manatee residents. The migrating sea cows annually begin their journey to our springs around this time of year in search of warmer waters. Their calm, gentle nature inspires those who view them to relax, take it easy and slow down. And remember, the colder, the better for viewing as they huddle to keep warm.
  4. Walk, run or bike on a local trail. Miles upon miles of local trailways can entertain the explorer within you as you take new sights in of Citrus County. From the Withlacoochee Trail to the Lecanto Caves, to salt marsh trails along gulf estuaries and inland parries among the pines, there’s no shortage of Florida wilderness to traverse and take in. Pick out a new trail or return to an old favorite, and see why we really are called the Nature Coast.
  5. Get some fresh citrus. Savor the delectable, juicy tastes of Florida oranges and grapefruits as they ripen this winter. Farmers markets, fruit stands and community favorite Ferris Groves offer an array of ripe, in-season varieties. Boost your immunity with the tasty, vitamin C-filled snack whole or juiced.
  6. Dine outdoors. Gather with friends and family for a patio, tiki or porch front meal. Local restaurants and bars add warming firepits/heaters and dazzling twinkle light displays to seating areas this time of year for a delightfully cozy dining experience. It’s the perfect time to relax and say cheers as we get closer to the New Year. 
  7. Cruise or paddle around pristine waterways. Take a sunset tour, book a gulf excursion or kayak/paddleboard your way to a good time this winter. Venture out on our local waterways and take in the beauty of Florida’s Nature Coast. It’ll make for an unforgettable experience.
  8. Shop our local downtowns. Buy unique gifts this season at Citrus’ local shops and boutiques. Support small business and make a difference in your community by buying local. Discover an array of homemade goods in Hernando, Inverness, Floral City, Crystal River and more. Put some local flair into your holiday décor or special gifts for family and friends.
  9. Plan a weekend trip. One of the best parts of living in Citrus Hills is being so close to so many other great places in central Florida. Explore a new downtown or take a weekend to relax. Citrus Hills is within just a short driving distance to favorites like St. Augustine, New Smyrna Beach, Titusville, The Villages, Wesley Chapel, St. Pete, Clearwater, Madiera Beach and more!  
  10. Try something new, create a new tradition. Add some zest to your winter and as 2022 approaches, take the time to do something you’ve never done before. Start a new tradition with your friends or family and count the blessings present all around. Have a happy holiday season and make the most of the New Year ahead.

Citrus Hills Golf Tournament and Dinner Dance supports local veterans

‘Thank you for your service,’ rang through Citrus Hills and Skyview on Veterans Day 2021.  

Community residents gathered on Thursday, Nov. 11, to show gratitude for the nation’s veterans with several patriotic events.

Golfers enjoyed a morning of play at the 8th annual Veterans Day Scramble Golf Tournament at Skyview at Terra Vista, raising money for local veterans. Each player’s entry included a $20 veterans contribution to the Mission United of Citrus County, with several winning teams donating their champion’s prize back to the cause.

The day’s 128 players began with a 9 a.m. shotgun start, ending around 2 p.m. at Skyview Restaurant to announce tournament winners. Teams consisted of three divisions: Male, Female and Couples.

Men’s Division Tournament Winners were: John Bradbury, Paul Zito, John Barnes and Leon Wolfe.

Ladies Division Tournament Winners were: Ginny Welch, Helene Reed, Marti Jones and Cindy Masden.

Mixed Couples Division Tournament Winners were: John Rogers, Margaret Rogers, Dawn Holley and Dave Holley.

Each year, the tournament and dinner dance are organized by the Citrus Hills Veterans Day Planning Committee, uniquely comprised of veterans representing five branches of the U.S. military. All proceeds from the day go directly to the support of needy veterans and their families in Citrus County. Annually, the event raises close to $17,000.

That evening, club members gathered in the Hampton Room for the 17th annual Patriotic Veterans Day Dinner Dance. Veteran members were honored and celebrated with a night of dancing, dinner and live entertainment to enjoy by Lisa Beck and Rock Solid. The event also included a Color Guard presentation and speech by Maj. Gen. Edward Leacock, Army National Guard, Retired, rounding out 2021 Veterans Day celebrations in the Citrus Hills community with a festive salute to veterans.

The Remarkable Diagnostic Tools to Determine the Structure and Function of the Retina

One of the challenges in all of medicine is to accurately determine the structure and function of any organ and tissue. When an organ like the heart, brain or retina, for example, are healthy then by definition the structure and function are correlated with each other. In other words, if you can measure the structure or the function you can infer the other.

However, if the retina has a particular disease like macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic retinopathy ( two of the more common disorders) then structure and function are not correlated with each other.

As a result, it’s even more important to have diagnostic tests that can independently measure structure and function. When you go to an ophthalmologist, the staff will check your vision on the acuity chart. Although all of us in ophthalmology and optometry do this test, it doesn’t really measure vision. This is because there are at least 8 different neural pathways from the eye to the back of head, the occipital lobe of the brain. The visual acuity test only measures only one of those pathways. So a patient may record a vision of 20/40 or 20/30 and report their vision is not normal. This is entirely possible for exactly the reason that is mentioned above.

So, what are the methods to measure structure and function of the retina? Over the last two to three decades there has been a remarkable advancement of diagnostic testing.

 As to structure, one of the tests that we use is multimodal imaging. This includes: 1) Color photos of the retina. Often, we use wide angle imaging so that the far edges of the retina can be seen; 2) Autofluorescence imaging allows us as retina specialist to observe the debris deposits underneath the retina as well as determine the areas of the retina where the nourishing cells (RPE cells) may have died; 3) Optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides high resolution imaging of the 9 microscopic layers of the retina, the RPE and also the largest blood supply per unit weight  in the entire body called the choroid. This is found under the retina.

We can measure function by two different methods: 1) Like the EKG of the heart, the electrical response of the retina, optic nerve and RPE can be recorded. This electrophysiological testing is extremely valuable to determine the actual objective function of these structures; 2) Microperimetry is another functional test that actually allows us to map out the sensitivity of the regions of the retina, particularly the macula, the area of central high acuity vision. 

Thus, by measuring the structure and function of the retina we, as retina specialists, have really refined our diagnostic and prognostic abilities. This of course helps to catch and treat diseases much earlier than we ever have done in the past.

Dr. Shalesh Kaushal, MD, PhD is considered one of the foremost authorities on retinal disease, Dr. Kaushal offers advanced diagnostics and a unique approach to uncover the core of why certain retina conditions exist, as well as the most optimal way to treat them. Dr. Shalesh Kaushal is an The Villages, FL based board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in the area of vitreoretinal disease and serving patients in the Ocala, FL area. Considered one of the foremost authorities on retinal disease, Dr. Kaushal offers advanced diagnostics and a unique approach to uncover the core of why certain retina conditions exist, as well as the most optimal way to treat them. In 2009, Dr. Kaushal was recruited to the University of Massachusetts as the chairman to build a new eye center, which at the time was the first, new academic Department of Ophthalmology in the United States in over 25 years.

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