Log in Subscribe

Community Spotlight: Center For Sight Donates Over 20 Free Cataract Surgeries for Uninsured Manatee County Patients


SARASOTA – Center For Sight donated over 20 vision-restoring cataract surgeries for uninsured Manatee County 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. 

Overall, more than 100 surgeries were performed on patients throughout the southeastern United States as part of Mission Cataract. Under the direction of David W. Shoemaker, M.D., Center For Sight’s nationally acclaimed ophthalmologic and optometric physicians, William J. Lahners, M.D., Joshua W. Kim, M.D., and William L. Soscia, M.D., along with a full team of nurse-anesthetists, medical technicians, nurses and administrative staff donated their time and experience to the cause.

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. 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.

“Participating in Mission Cataract each year renews our passion for the profession,” said Dr. Soscia. “Once you’ve seen the impact these surgeries have on a person’s life, there is no other option than to help… and we are fortunate to be able to do just that.”

Paul Benton of Bradenton learned about Mission Cataract from his eye doctor. Benton is a former professional pool player who worked in construction until 2008, when he first began experiencing sight problems caused by cataracts in both eyes. Significant vision loss forced him to take a part-time position transporting vehicles, which was limited to daytime shifts due to legal restrictions concerning his eyesight and driving at night. Dr. Soscia performed his surgery on one eye the first day of Mission Cataract and the other the following week. “I am so thankful that Center For Sight offers this opportunity. I already notice a big difference, and I’m getting on girlfriend’s nerves because I can see everything around the house now,” said Benton. “Having this surgery will enable me to work into the night and pick up more hours. I can’t wait to go to the movies, or even get back into playing pool.”

The two-day event marked 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.

Center For Sight surgeons (L-R) William L. Soscia, M.D., William J. Lahners, M.D., David W.

Shoemaker, M.D., and Joshua W. Kim, M.D., performed over 100 free cataract surgeries

through Mission Cataract.

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. Recent accolades include the 2014 Small Business of the Year by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce; the 2014 Best Marketing/PR Agency by SRQ Magazine readers; and the 2010 Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business of the Year by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. For more information on Grapevine Communications, contact Miranda Spinner at MSpinner@grapeinc.com or 941-351-0024.


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.