Eye Center South gives sight gifts for more than two decades

Published 05/19 2014 09:01AM

Updated 05/19 2014 09:09AM

In the 22 years since Eye Center South first embraced the ‘Gift of Sight’ concept of restoring vision for the less fortunate through the Gift of Sight Program, thousands of lives have been thanks to receiving free cataract removal and lens implantation, according to Sebastian Heersink, M.D., Medical Director of Eye Center South.

This year’s Gift of Sight event marks the 22nd year Eye Center South has conducted the Gift of Sight program. Created in 1991 by Dr. Frederick Richburg, Mission Cataract USA is a nationally renowned program bringing eye doctors, surgeons and volunteers together to provide free vision services to those in need.

What began as a small part of a nationwide program known as Mission Cataract USA has evolved into one of the most rewarding and life-changing public service events held in the Wiregrass each year. Over the past 2 decades, over hundreds of less-fortunate local residents have had their vision restored thanks to free cataract surgery through the Gift of Sight.

During the week of May 19-23, eye surgeons Marnix E. Heersink, MD, William L. Bennett, MD and Sebastian B. Heersink, MD will be providing complimentary cataract surgery to visually impaired persons who would otherwise go untreated due to lack of insurance or other financial constraints.

“Our mission with Gift of Sight is to improve the vision and quality of life for people in our local community,” Dr. Sebastian Heersink said. “This is my third year to be involved in this public service event and I feel proud to be part of this Eye Center South tradition. It is truly a privilege to help members of our local community who are handicapped because of vision loss from cataracts.”

Dr. Marnix Heersink first introduced the program to the Wiregrass in 1992, after which Dr. Bennett joined him in this critical fight for sight. “This is a very special time of year for all us at Eye Center South,” said Dr. Marnix Heersink. Dr. William Bennett added, “My colleagues are blessed to be able to help the less fortunate in our local communities who truly cannot help themselves. It is very gratifying to restore sight to someone who could otherwise not afford it,” stated Dr. Bennett.

Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of vision loss. Cataracts usually develop due to age, but also for other reasons such as diabetes, injuries, some medications, or heredity. Fortunately, cataracts can be safely removed with a brief, painless surgery, and with a very high success rate of restoring vision.

For more information about the Gift of Sight Program and to learn about the patient qualifications, call your eye doctor or Eye Center South at 334-793-2211.

(This unedited story was provided by Amy Kennedy, Director of Marketing, Eye Center South).

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