One hundred people with severe cataracts but no means to pay for surgery are scheduled to get free eye surgeries July 13 and July 20 in Sarasota.
The patients, many local but some from Georgia and South Carolina, are taking part in the 2016 Mission Cataract, a national program providing free cataract surgery for medically needy patients.
The only Florida ophthalmology practice involved in Mission Cataract this year and the place where the 100 will be treated is Center For Sight, 2601 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, said Marissa Rossnagle, a Center For Sight spokeswoman.
“These are people who can’t read or drive a car or do most everyday activities due to their vision loss,” Rossnagle said. “This will be a completely life-changing experience for them.”
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To qualify for the free surgery, patients must request an application from Center For Sight, be U.S. citizens or have a green card proving they are becoming a permanent resident, have cataracts and vision loss. They must lack insurance and Medicare or Medicaid status and be living at or below poverty guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health, Rossnagle said.
Center For Sight has participated in Mission Cataract for more than 20 years, said Dr. David W. Shoemaker, clinical director of Center For Sight.
“Restoring the gift of sight to those in need and giving them the opportunity to lead meaningful and productive lives is a truly good thing,” Shoemaker said. “Mission Cataract changes lives for both the patients receiving care and all of us at Center For Sight who provide that care.”
Center For Sight uses a state-of-the-art “LensAR laser, Shoemaker said.
“In the hands of our nationally renowned surgeons, the results derived from this technology are just amazing,” Shoemaker said.