30 People Have Vision Restored Thanks to Free Cataract Surgery by Center For Sight

Sarasota, Florida – May 20, 2011 – Center For Sight performed 30 free cataract surgeries for people who have no insurance and no means to pay on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. The surgeries were part of Mission Cataract USA, a nationwide project involving hundreds of eye surgeons throughout the United States. Center For Sight donated over $120,000 in services for the one-day event, with surgeries performed by Dr. David Shoemaker, Dr. William Lahners, Dr. Joshua Kim and Dr. William Soscia. The lenses were donated by Bausch & Lomb.

Most patients came from Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, with a few traveling from as far away as Jupiter and Daytona Beach, Florida. Many of them could see clearly immediately after surgery, depending on the severity of their condition. Patients ranged in age from a 17-year-old girl to people in their 70s. While cataracts are typically found in older people, in rare cases young people suffer from the condition due to genetics or severe trauma to the eye.

Shawn Stewart, a 37-year-old Bradenton construction worker, found out about Mission Cataract USA online. “This will affect my entire life,” said Shawn, who has been out of work for three years due to poor eyesight and depth perception. “I’m looking forward to being able to see details and colors again, and most importantly, getting back to work. I’m so grateful for this surgery – it’s a miracle for people like me.”

Center For Sight was one of the founding members of Mission Cataract USA, and has committed to providing free cataract surgery to indigent patients through the program for more than 15 years. Center For Sight is one of only a few eye centers in the United States to continually offer this service.

“I feel strongly that people in our community should not have to lose their vision to a preventable condition such as cataracts due to the inability to pay,” said Dr. David Shoemaker, the founder of Center For Sight. “Offering this service is part of our responsibility as physicians, and we consider it an honor and a privilege to do so.”

To qualify, patients were required to have poor vision due to cataracts that is uncorrectable with glasses; no Medicare, Medicaid, or third-party insurance coverage; and no other means to pay for cataract surgery. The goal of Mission Cataract USA is to eradicate blindness due to cataracts in our country and bring as many people as possible from blindness to useful, productive lives. They aim to have Mission Cataract USA surgeons in all 50 states so that no person in the country will go without needed cataract surgery due to finances.

Cataract surgery is microsurgery. It 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, causing blurred or distorted vision. Today, modern cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. With the advent of small incision cataract surgery, often stitches are not required. In most cases, the patient can use their eye soon after surgery and return home the same day.

About Center For Sight

With locations throughout Southwest Florida, Center For Sight is the nation’s leading multi-disciplinary physician group providing patients worldwide with advanced healthcare in ophthalmology, optometry, dermatology, cosmetic facial surgery and hearing services. Under the clinical direction of David W. Shoemaker, M.D., and William J. Lahners, M.D., F.A.C.S., Center For Sight has seven offices serving Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties. For more information, visit centerforsight.net

Grapevine Communications is a full-service, award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations firm based in Sarasota, Florida, and serving clients nationwide. The firm was recently awarded the 2010 Frank G. Berlin, Sr., Small Business Award by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. For more information on Grapevine Communications, contact Jamie M. Smith at 941-351-0024 or email pr@grapeinc.com.

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