We are beyond happy to say that Beertopia was a success! There was such a great turn out of people. It was a great time spent supporting and raising money for the Vision Foundation. The Vision Foundation is the Eye Center, Inc.’s nonprofit organization committed to providing eye care and glasses to underprivileged children in Manatee County, FL. Its purpose is exclusively charitable. Read more below on how the Vision Foundation has recently helped a mother and her daughter receive the proper care needed.


A testimonial from a Vision Foundation recipient

My daughter was born very premature at 24 weeks weighing only 1lb. 9.6oz. She had ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) and received laser surgery before leaving the hospital and has always had to wear glasses. She has been seeing Dr. Laudicina for many years now. She started having problems mostly with her left eye making it almost impossible to see anything. Everything looked cloudy. When she went back to Dr. Laudicina, he found she had cataracts in both eyes and informed me that my daughter needed cataract surgery.  I was so worried and surprised by this, being that she was only a teenager. How could she have cataracts so early in life? He talked to us about the procedure and how important it was to have this done immediately. As a mom, I hated seeing anything happen to my kids and knew we had to get this done.

That night, I went home and prayed; trying to figure out how I was going to come up with the money to pay for not only one, but two cataract surgeries. This was going to be such a financial burden and impossible to come up with right now. I couldn’t let my daughter know all this. She was already upset thinking she was going to go blind. I assured her that was not the case that she had a great doctor and we were going to get the surgeries done very soon.

The next day, I didn’t have any answers as to where the money was going to come from so I spoke with Dr. Laudicina and explained to him my situation. I knew time wasn’t on my side and felt like a horrible mom. This is when he told me about the Vision Foundation and immediately started the process to help me with the bills and even contacted the Cataract Specialist to make sure my daughter got scheduled to see him and get the cataracts removed ASAP.

Thanks to the Vision Foundation my daughter, after having to wear glasses with a strong prescription since before she even walk, only needs readers. Her right eye responded well to the surgery! Unfortunately, the vision in her left eye didn’t return. What was found hiding behind the cataract was retina damage due to the ROP. Thanks to Dr. Laudicina and his expertise and passion for restoring sight, he had her see a Retina Specialist; knowing that more could be done to give her sight back that she had lost at such a young age. Now on to yet another surgery… more money to come up with ASAP.

Again, I am struggling and trying to find money to pay for a surgery that couldn’t be pushed off. I spoke to Dr. Laudicina about this and he, again, came to our rescue with the Vision Foundation. I was at work when he told me the news that the Foundation could help! I cried! You see, the surgery had already been scheduled. I had to get it done for her. This is my daughter, young daughter, who is driving, trying to start college, and has her whole life ahead of her. I had to do this. I would pray and figure out where I’d get the money to pay for it after we got through what had to be done.

Now, here we are in Naples, FL and just went through another surgery on her left eye. This time for her retina. She had a tremendous amount of scar tissue removed and there were blood vessels leaking – all from her ROP at birth causing her vision to be blurred and seeing next to nothing. The Retina Specialist said it will take time to heal, but she would have sight restored!

I thank God for doctors, like Dr. Laudicina, who never give up or say, “well that’s the best we can do” but truly believe that SOMETHING CAN BE DONE. I thank God for the doctors who founded the Vision Foundation. They care about people and won’t let money stand in the way of anyone having the gift of sight! Without their help, I don’t know what we would have done! Now she has sight back!

I am truly grateful for the Vision Foundation and the care and treatment she received from Dr. Laudicina and others who he referred us to through this journey of appointments and surgeries.



From a beyond grateful recipient of the generosity from The Eye Center Inc. Vision Foundation