Center For Sight, the premier vision, cosmetic and skin care practice in Southwest Florida, will donate free cataract and other vision-saving surgeries as part of the annual Mission Cataract program for people who are without insurance and unable to pay. The surgeries will be performed by Dr. David Shoemaker, Dr. William Lahners, Dr. Joshua Kim, Dr. William Soscia, Dr. Brandon Parrott and Dr. William Mestrezat at Center For Sight’s state-of-the-art, AAAHC-accredited surgery facility in Sarasota on June 5 and June 12, 2013 between 7:00am and 4:30pm.
Nearly two of every ten people aged 40 and over suffer from cataracts. Estimates show that nearly 90,000 adults live below the poverty line in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. The goal of Mission Cataract is to eradicate blindness due to cataracts or other surgically treatable eye conditions for indigent patients throughout the region.
Center For Sight is one of only a few eye centers in the United States to continually offer this service, which is now in its 18th consecutive year. To qualify, patients must be a United States citizen and have poor vision that is uncorrectable with glasses, no other means to pay for cataract surgery, and no Medicare, Medicaid, or third-party insurance coverage.
In Mission Cataract 2012, Center For Sight provided over 80 surgeries for patients of all ages from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, with some traveling from as far away as Alabama and Georgia. Center For Sight’s nationally recognized ophthalmologic and optometric physicians, nurses, and other clinical professionals individually contribute their time and services for each Mission Cataract event. This year, Center For Sight is donating over $250,000 in care, which will put the total value of donated services to date at over $3 million.
To ensure ongoing funding of its charitable efforts, Center For Sight formed the Center For Sight Foundation in 2012, a donor-advised fund of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. One hundred percent of every dollar donated to Center For Sight Foundation goes directly to purchasing pre- and post-operative exams, medications, surgical supplies, protective post-operative glasses, and the artificial lenses that are implanted into patients’ damaged eyes at the time of surgery.
“We are proud to participate in Mission Cataract every year to provide the necessary care and treatment for those who would otherwise go through each day struggling to see,” said Dr. David Shoemaker, Founder, CEO and Director of Cataract and Lens Replacement Surgery at Center For Sight. “It is very gratifying to know how vision restoration becomes such a life-changing experience that can open new doors of opportunity for the people of our community.”
Cataract surgery uses an operating microscope and is performed inside the eye through an incision. The surgeon removes the eye’s natural crystalline lens, which has lost its transparency and caused blurred or distorted vision. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, and stitches are often not required. In most cases, the patient can use their eye soon after surgery and return home the same day.