Center For Sight has completed its annual Mission Cataract event at its Sarasota and Naples surgery centers. Cataract surgeons Dr. David Shoemaker, Dr. William Soscia, Dr. Joshua Kim, Dr. Joaquin De Rojas, Dr. Priya Mathews, Dr. Jon Berlie and Dr. George Brinning performed free life-changing cataract surgeries in the Sarasota and Naples AAAHC accredited surgery centers. The event is funded by the Center For Sight Foundation and Operation Sight to help individuals in need receive vision correcting care, regardless of their ability to pay.
“It is difficult to imagine living in a world without sight. Many of our Mission Cataract patients cannot work, drive, or read. Offering this service provides a second chance for those in need to lead a fulfilling life. We are proud to donate our time and talents to help this affected population,” said William Soscia, MD, Medical Director at Center For Sight.
The practice has been offering this service to uninsured patients through Mission Cataract for over 30 years. Since its inception, the program has helped thousands of patients regain their sight, at no cost. The entire Center For Sight team works together to process applications, diagnose patients, and perform surgeries at the annual Mission Cataract event.
“Offering this service is truly a company-wide effort. Our goal is to ensure that no one suffers cataract-related vision loss due to the inability to pay for surgery. Everyone comes together to make that happen, year after year, from the staff handling the intake paperwork to the surgeons in the operating room.” said Dr. David Shoemaker, Founder and Director of Cataract and Lens Replacement Surgery at Center For Sight.
Stories of This Year’s Mission Cataract Recipients
Patient Jamori Fox, 26, traveled from Canton, GA to have surgery in Sarasota. At only 26 years old, he suffered from debilitating cataracts, causing him to lose his job as a driver. Speaking of Mission Cataract, he mentions, “I’m trying not to get emotional, but I truly appreciate what you’re doing for people who don’t have the income. The world is hard out here. I’m grateful for what you do for those less fortunate.”
Heather Gordan, 55, has one personal hobby she’s greatly missed due to her failing vision – reading. She plans to make up for lost time now that she can see clearly again. A friend directed her to Center For Sight a couple years ago, and this year she was eligible for the program. “I am a server and don’t have insurance,” she said, “It’s been tough. This place has been a blessing.”
For Cheryl Von Deck, 64, her poor eyesight has affected those around her as well. She shared, “I am a caregiver for someone who cannot drive. I can’t drive either and we’ve had to miss appointments. I can’t wait to be able to see again, I am so excited.”
Partnerships to Ensure Continuation of Mission Cataract
To ensure ongoing funding for the annual Mission Cataract program, Shoemaker formed the Center For Sight Foundation, a donor advised fund of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Every dollar received is used to purchase medications, surgical supplies, protective post-operative glasses, and the intraocular lenses used during surgery.
In addition, Center For Sight has partnered with Operation Sight, a national program through the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Foundation in order to expand its reach nationwide. The goal of Operation Sight is to build a network of volunteer organizations that provide care to Americans unable to access or afford cataract surgery.
Not only do the Center For Sight surgeons and Center For Sight Foundation donors participate in providing this service, but the laser technology company, LENSAR, Inc., donated the use of its advanced LENSAR laser system to be used on each case.
To qualify for Mission Cataract, patients must complete an application and meet specific criteria to be eligible for treatment. Applicants must be United States citizens, have a confirmed diagnosis of cataracts, live at or below the poverty level set by the United States
Department of Health and Human Services, and be without Medicare, Medicaid, or third-party insurance coverage.
About Center For Sight
Center For Sight provides ophthalmology, optometry, dermatology and cosmetic surgery services to patients in Southwest Florida. The practice offers patients convenient access to nationally renowned surgeons, highly-trained, compassionate staff members and cutting-edge technology. Center For Sight’s mission is to “bring clear vision to life” through trusting relationships and the unending pursuit of excellence in eye care. For additional information and locations, visit CenterForSight.net.
About Center For Sight Foundation
The Center For Sight Foundation is a donor-advised fund 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 the Center For Sight Foundation to support the annual Mission Cataract program, which restores vision at no cost for people living at the poverty level suffering vision loss due to cataracts. For more information, visit CFSFoundation.org.