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Center For Sight Donates Over 100 Free Cataract Surgeries for Uninsured Patients
Nationally Recognized Surgeons Participate in 20th Annual Mission Cataract Program

Sarasota, Florida – June 17, 2014 – Center For Sight performed over 100 free vision-saving cataract surgeries for uninsured patients without the means to pay on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, and Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at the practice’s state-of-the-art AAAHC-accredited surgery facility in Sarasota. Under the direction of David W. Shoemaker, M.D., Center For Sight’s nationally acclaimed ophthalmologic surgeons, William J. Lahners, M.D., Joshua W. Kim, M.D., and William L. Soscia, M.D., along with a full team of optometric physicians, nurse-anesthetists, medical technicians, nurses and administrative staff donated their time and experience to Mission Cataract.

“Taking part in Mission Cataract each year is about much more than restoring the sight of our patients,” said Dr. David Shoemaker, Founder and Director of Cataract and Lens Replacement Surgery at Center For Sight. “For many, we’re helping restore lives, to where they can return to work, see the faces of loved ones, and do all the things they enjoy once again. As physicians, we consider it an honor and a privilege to offer this service.” 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.

According to the official Mission Cataract USA website, Center For Sight is the only ophthalmology practice in the state of Florida to participate in Mission Cataract. Most patients who received the free surgeries this year were from Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, with some traveling as far away as South Carolina. 

Brian Hudson from Venice worked as a sales trainer and led an active life until he not only began to lose his vision but also suffered a heart attack. "I've been living a life of restrictions, and Center For Sight is helping me regain my overall wellness from before," said Hudson, whose cataract surgery was performed by Dr. Shoemaker. “I had to retire out of necessity and was told I couldn’t go back to work. I may prove them wrong."

The surgical procedures of Mission Cataract involved varying levels of complexity based on the density and severity of each cataract case, with some patients experiencing significant vision loss to the point of near-blindness. Dana Rivenburgh from Tampa is one such patient. After three years of progression, cataracts caused complete blindness in one eye and allowed only a pin-prick of light visible from the other eye. A friend and caretaker informed him about Mission Cataract. "I look forward to being able to do things on my own again," said Rivenburgh. “I haven't seen a person's face in about a year. I’m so glad I found Center For Sight and the Mission Cataract program.”

This marks Center For Sight’s 20th year of providing free cataract surgeries through Mission Cataract. To ensure the ongoing funding for their commitment to the annual program, Center For Sight formed the Center For Sight Foundation in 2012. A donor-advised fund of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Center For Sight Foundation gives 100% of the donations it receives to support Mission Cataract with the purchase of pre-operative, surgical and post-operative medications and supplies, including the artificial lenses that are implanted into patients’ damaged eyes.

About Center For Sight
With eight 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 serves Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. For more information, visit CenterForSight.net

About Center For Sight Foundation
Center For Sight Foundation is a donor-advised fund that is maintained and operated by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, a section 501(c)(3) organization. The fund is composed of contributions made by individual donors. David W. Shoemaker, M.D. established Center For Sight Foundation as a mechanism to reach more people and transform more lives. The primary initiative supported by the Foundation is Mission Cataract, which identifies and restores vision at no cost for people who are living at or below the poverty level and are suffering vision loss due to cataracts. For more information, visit CFSFoundation.org.

Grapevine Communications provides full-service advertising, marketing and public relations services to clients nationwide. The firm is the most award-winning advertising agency in Sarasota, Florida, and the surrounding areas. For more information on Grapevine Communications, contact Shaunna Norris (SNorris@grapeinc.com) at 941-351-0024 or visit the website at www.grapeinc.com.

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Photo Caption:
Center For Sight nurse Amber Dutton (L) consults patient Brian Hudson (R) prior to Hudson’s free vision-restoring cataract surgery.