SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Dozens of people will receive the gift of sight through the annual "Mission Cataract" event that is happening at the Center for Sight in Sarasota.
From 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., eye surgeons will perform cataract surgeries on close to 70 patients.
Some people have traveled from Tennessee or Georgia for the free surgery. The program is made possible through donations to the Center For Sight Foundation, a donor-advised fund of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
Lauren Basso is from Vero Beach, Florida and said this surgery is life-changing for her.
"This eye I couldn't see anything out of. So it's just great to be able to see again," Basso said.
Dr. William Soscia is a Cataract Surgeon with the Center For Sight and said this event is so rewarding for all of the surgeons and staff involved.
"It feels like Christmas. Everyone is buzzing around about it. You know the great St. Francis used to say 'it's in giving that we receive' and it truly is," Soscia said.
Patients have to qualify for the program and have to meet specific criteria to be eligible.
Applicants must be United States citizens, have a confirmed diagnosis of cataracts, live at or below the poverty level, and be without Medicare, Medicaid, or third-party insurance coverage.
Applications for the 2020 program can be found here.