Center For Sight to Donate 100 Free Cataract Surgeries as Part of National, Annual Mission Cataract Project
‘1Night 4Sight’ Blind Dinners to Benefit the Center For Sight Foundation, a New Charitable Fund to Prevent Blindness Due to Cataracts
Sarasota, Florida – March 8, 2012 – Center For Sight is expecting to donate 100 free cataract surgeries for people who have no insurance and no means to pay on Friday, March 23, and Friday, March 30, 2012, at its state-of-the-art surgical center in Sarasota. Most patients are from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, with a few traveling from as far away as Alabama and Georgia. The surgeries are part of Mission Cataract USA, a nationwide project involving hundreds of eye surgeons throughout the United States. The surgeries will be performed by Dr. David Shoemaker, Dr. William Lahners, Dr. Joshua Kim and Dr. William Soscia. At a cost of approximately $4,000 per surgery, Center For Sight is donating over $400,000 in care this year.
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 16 years. This year’s efforts will put Center For Sight’s total value of donated services at a remarkable $2.4 million. Center For Sight is one of only a few eye centers in the United States to continually offer this service. This year, for the first time, Center For Sight physicians will perform the free surgeries on two consecutive Fridays so patients who have cataracts in both eyes can complete the procedures within two weeks, instead of waiting a year to have the second eye corrected.
To ensure ongoing funding of its charitable efforts, Center For Sight recently formed Center For Sight Foundation, a donor-advised fund of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Its mission is to provide world-class surgical care to prevent avoidable blindness in patients who cannot afford treatment. Center For Sight Foundation will support and expand the Mission Cataract project, with donations going directly to help purchase pre-operative, surgical and post-operative medications and supplies, including the artificial lenses that are implanted into patients’ damaged eyes. Center For Sight’s nationally recognized ophthalmologic and optometric physicians, and other clinical professionals, individually contribute their services. Center For Sight donates the use of its state-of-the-art, AAAHC-accredited surgery center.
One of the Foundation’s first fundraising events is 1Night 4Sight, a series of invitation-only “Blind Dinners” featuring the cuisine of some of Sarasota-Manatee’s premier chefs at various locations. Potential donors and patrons will be gently blindfolded for a portion of the dinner so they may experience the sensory deprivation of blindness while savoring a sumptuous meal. The initial series of 1Night 4Sight dinners will take place March 15, 2012, at Viking Culinary Center in Lakewood Ranch, featuring Executive Chef Chris Covelli; March 20, 2012, at The Venice Art Center, featuring Executive Chef Jamil Pineda; and April 3, 2012, at Michael’s Wine Cellar in Sarasota, also with Executive Chef Jamil Pineda.
“I have witnessed firsthand the impact that vision loss can have on people’s lives,” said Dr. David Shoemaker, Founder, CEO and Director of Cataract and Lens Replacement Surgery at Center For Sight. “I feel strongly that people in our community should not lose their vision to a treatable condition such as cataracts due to financial hardship. I’m pleased and honored to launch the Center For Sight Foundation to ensure we can continue to transform people’s lives by bringing them out of the darkness and back to full, productive lives.”
To qualify, patients must have poor vision due to cataracts that is uncorrectable with glasses; no Medicare, Medicaid, or third-party insurance coverage; have no other means to pay for cataract surgery; and be a United States citizen. The goal of Mission Cataract USA is to eradicate blindness due to cataracts in our country by having Mission Cataract USA surgeons in all 50 states.
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.