Eye Center, Inc.
Main Office • 2003 Cortez Road West • Bradenton, FL Three convenient locations to serve you! 941.756.2020


FREE Shipping on All Contact Lens Orders of 2 Boxes or More!

FREE Shipping on All Contact Lens Orders of 2 Boxes or More!

Here at Eye Center, Inc., we understand the inconvenience of social distancing, and we want to help! For a limited time, we are waiving our shipping fees for contact lenses.

If you need more contact lenses, we will ship them directly to you with FREE SHIPPING for boxes of 2 or more. 

If your prescription is expired or expiring, but you still need more contacts, please call (941) 756-2020 and we will be extending your prescription on a case-by-case basis. 

We are currently open at all of our locations for all of your eye care needs.

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How We're Handling COVID-19

How We're Handling COVID-19

At ECI, our highest priority is keeping our patients and staff healthy and safe. We would like to reassure all of our patients that we are taking every needed measure to keep you and our staff in good health and our equipment clean.

We are currently open at each of our locations to take care of all your eyecare needs.

We are maintaining our exceptional hygiene standards and following all CDC recommendations across our teams.

We will be enhancing our established precautions by adding the following:

  • Increasing the frequency of our routine sanitization practices and increasing the frequency of sanitizing high-touch areas such as check-in, waiting rooms, displayed frames, patient rooms, all equipment, etc.
  • Requiring proper hand hygiene guidelines for all patients and staff when entering the office (handwashing with soap of hand sanitizing).
  • In addition, there will be no penalty for cancellations for the next 2 weeks. And as always, we will try to accommodate your rescheduled appointment quickly.

We kindly ask that you:

  • Out of respect for social distancing, only bring yourself (and anyone who may need other eyecare services) to your appointment.
  • Reschedule your appointment in advance if you, or anyone in your immediate family has a fever, respiratory condition, or flu-like symptoms.

We will continue to make the safety for our patients, families, and team members the highest priority and closely monitor the recommendations of national, state, and local health organizations. We know you have many questions and encourage you to stay updated from factual, reliable resources like the CDC.

We are always here for you, and we thank you for choosing and trusting Eye Center, Inc.

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Beertopia 2020

Beertopia 2020

Beertopia is BACK! On Saturday, February 22nd you will enjoy a variety of craft and imported beers, dishes from local restaurants, live music by Rebel Heart, silent auctions, raffle tickets and more!

Beertopia is presented by Anheuser-Busch at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing. Get ready to enjoy:

  • Anna Maria Oyster Bar
  • Birdrock
  • Cafe Baci
  • Demetrios
  • Dickey’s BBQ
  • Dockside
  • EnRich
  • Gecko’s Catering Division
  • Sea Hut
  • Woody’s River Roo

Beertopia benefits our Vision Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by the Eye Center, Inc. The doctors at the Eye Center are not only committed to giving their patients excellent care, but they are also passionate about helping others, especially children, who may not be able to afford the eye care they need. That’s why the Vision Foundation is committed to providing eye care and glasses to underprivileged children in Manatee County, FL.

This event will also benefit the Hernando de Soto Historical Society, an organization in which Dr. Michael Mackie is a longtime member. Since 1939, the De Soto organization fosters and facilitates an appreciation of Manatee County’s Spanish heritage and cultural alliances through community collaborations, charitable giving, and special events like the Seafood Festival and Grand Parade.

This is an event you won’t want to miss. Click here to get your tickets today!


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The Path To Perfect Vision

The Path To Perfect Vision

Much like the fact that we are not born with the innate ability to recite our ABCs and 123s, we are not born with innately perfect vision, either. It’s a process for the visual system to develop, one that typically occurs through a series of events and along an average time-line. In this article, I thought I’d discuss that average timeline, and when monitoring imperfections, versus intervening with glasses or other treatments, is most beneficial for a child.

In our infancy (birth to 18 months) there is a great deal of self-regulating of the visual system occurring, with the ultimate goal of low hyperopia (far-sightedness) by approximately 12 to 18 months. (1) This process of clear vision gradually developing over time is referred to as emmetropization.

This means that depending on image clarity at birth, and the effort it takes to form a clear image, our eyes grow in length in order to help create the clearest image, using the least amount of effort. The length of the eye is the factor that most dictates our refractive error throughout childhood. (Other factors include the curvature of the cornea and the thickness of the ocular lens).

By the time a child reaches their toddler years (two-five years old), if the emmetropization process was successful, one should have a low amount of hyperopia. If emmetropization has not occurred properly, this is the time where it could be appropriate to intervene by prescribing glasses. Specifically, glasses are considered at this point when hyperopia is more than +3.50D, there is a moderate amount of astigmatism, and/or there is a large difference in refractive error between the two eyes. (2)

Prescribing glasses in these cases may be necessary to prevent visual discomfort and/or amblyopia. More simply, I personally try to avoid prescribing glasses at this age, unless I have reason to believe that not prescribing may be detrimental to a child’s vision, long term. When emmetropization has not occurred by childhood, (ages five-13), we typically begin to see an increased incidence of myopia (near-sightedness) and myopic progression. Myopia is the most frequent cause of correctable vision impairment worldwide, and by the year 2050, many studies indicate there will be nearly one billion myopes.

The inheritance pattern of myopia is multifactorial and complicated, but a child’s risk of becoming myopic is increased if he or she has myopic parents and/or siblings. Also, as a general rule, the younger a child is when found to be myopic, the more myopic they will likely become. Children who are diagnosed before the age of 7 seem to have the highest risk of progression. (3)

I find the parents of my near-sighted patients are commonly disheartened when their child’s- prescription gets worse from one year to the next. I understand the concern, and according to the child and the situation, we may discuss how this is a normal part of development and nothing to fear, or we may discuss potential methods of reducing myopia progression.

Something to consider in terms of myopic progression is that as a child ages, the risk of myopic growth becomes more influenced by their environment and daily activities. For NEXTGEN example, more time spent outdoors can reduce the risk of myopia progression, and the risk of progression is lowest when two hours per day is spent outdoors. Alternatively, the risk of myopia progression is highest when there are three or more hours per day spent conducting close vision tasks. (3,4) This is something especially important to consider, given the increased use of digital devices these days.

In summary, the development of a child’s visual system is a complex and dynamic process that should be monitored by an eye care professional. There are trends we expect to observe over time and situations that may require intervention to benefit the child and their vision. By obtaining an annual dilated eye exam, you can rest assured you are doing all you can to maximize your child’s potential for clear vision.

By: Dr. Paige Laudicina


1. Mutti DO, Mitchell Gl, Jones LA, Friedman NE, Frane SL,
Lin WK, Moesohberger ML, Zadnik K. Accommodation,
acuity, and their relationship to emmetropization in
infants. Optom Vis Sci. 2009 Jun; 86(6):666-76.
2.VIP-HIP Study Group, Kulp MT, Ciner E, Maguire
M, Moore B, Pentimonti J, Pistilli M, Cyert L, Candy
TR, Quinn G, Ying GS. Uncorrected Hyperopia and
Preschool Early Literacy: Results of the Vision in
Preschoolers-Hyperopia in Preschoolers (VIP-HIP)
Study. Ophthalmology. 2016. Apr;123(4):681-9.
3. Jong M, He M, Holden BA, Li W, Sankaridrug P, Chen
X, Navadiluth T, Smith EL, Morgan IG, Ge J. The
rate of myopia progression in children who became
highly myopic. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 April;
4.Jones LA, Sinnott LT, Mutti DO, Mitchell GL,
Moeschberger ML, Zadnik K. Parental history of myopia,
sports and outdoor activities, and future myopia. /ni/esf
Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Aug; 48(8):3524-32.

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Vision and Sleep

Vision and Sleep

Sometimes, it’s hard to get a full night of restful sleep. When we don’t, we pay for it the next day. But did you know that sleep not only affects the quality of your alertness but your vision, too?

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation symptoms include a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, memory issues, mood changes, weight gain, and vision problems. Vision symptoms of sleep deprivation include twitchy eyelids, dry eye, and eye strain. For our eyes to perform to their best ability throughout the day, they must get at least five hours of sleep per night. 

Blue Lights

Tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc., all put out every optometrists’ worst enemy, blue light. Your eyes become very confused when exposed to blue light at night. The only blue light our eyes are exposed to in nature is the sun, so exposed during the night, our eyes think it’s daytime and that we should be awake. Our brains then also become confused, making it much harder to not only fall asleep but get restful sleep. 

Looking at bright screens in the dark also increases your chance of developing digital eye strain. Symptoms include, sore, tired, burning and itchy eyes, watery or dry eyes, blurred or double vision, headaches, sore neck, shoulders or back, increased sensitivity to light, and difficulty concentrating. 


Taking your contacts out before you go to sleep is vital. Our eyes get oxygen directly from the air and while wearing contacts, they block air from reaching our eyes, especially during hours of sleep when our eyes are completely closed. Newer contact lenses allow more oxygen to flow, but taking them out before going to sleep is always the overall better choice to wake up with no irritation. 

Wishing restful sleep to all and to all a good night!

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Everything You Need to Know About Cataracts

Everything You Need to Know About Cataracts

According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Young patients can be affected as well, but your risk of developing cataracts typically rises after age 55 and up, and patients with diabetes are at much higher risk. More than 25 million people have a cataract in one or both eyes. 

Cataracts can develop depending on age, UV exposure, genetic factors, smoking, and nutritional deficiencies. Cataracts develop in stages in 4 stages:

Stage One: Early Stage

During the first stage, the lens stays clear, but your ability to focus at distance and then refocus on near objects is slowly lost. You may experience, mild blurring or clouding, increasing light sensitivity, early appearance of glare, and increasing eye strain.

Stage Two: Immature Stage

During the immature stage, lens opacity is enough to noticeably obstruct vision. The edge of the pupil casts a shadow on the lens. You may experience, blurred vision, dimmed vision, and double vision.

Stage Three: Mature Stage

The mature stage causes the lens to become an amber color, or completely white. The iris edge stops casting a shadow. You may experience the same stages as the immature stage symptoms, but more severe.

Stage Four: Hypermature Stage

During the final stage, the lens shrinks and develops white spots. Occasionally, the lens may partially dislocate or suffer from glaucoma. You may experience, significant blur and loss of vision.

Along with the stages of development, there are three different types of cataracts:

Nuclear Sclerotic- These cataracts deeply form in the nucleus. Slowly, the central portion of the crystalline lens will yellow and harden.

Cortical- These cataracts develop white opaque “spokes” that start to affect your peripheral vision and slowly work toward the center. 

Posterior Subcapsular- Progression varies with this type of cataract but tends to develop more rapidly. They affect patients that use high doses of steroids and diabetic patients.

Here are some tips to help prevent the development of cataracts:

  • Eat Right: Introduce more antioxidant and glutathione-rich (a detoxifying antioxident)  foods into your diet such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, brussels sprouts, avocados, grapefruit, and strawberries. Drink plenty of water also helps flush out harmful toxins.
  • Wear Protective Glasses: The suns UV rays are harmful to your eyes, and researches have confirmed that UV rays can cause cataracts by damaging proteins within the lens of your eyes. Whichever brand or style you choose, make sure they offer 99%-100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid Smoking: Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to your heart and lungs, but smoking can also harm your eyes. Free radicals are created in your eyes when you inhale smoke. When you smoke, good chemicals in your body are consumed, encouraging the production of toxins that cause cataracts. 

If you feel that you are developing or currently are suffering from cataracts, call us today at (941) 756-2020.

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10 Best Practices for Wearing Contact Lenses

10 Best Practices for Wearing Contact Lenses

Are you tired of wearing glasses and are looking to switch to contact lenses? Do you already wear contact lenses and have irritation issues? Here are a few best practices to your journey of a versatile, glasses-free life:

  1. Before touching your contact lenses, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
  2. Do not rinse or store contact in water. Always use contact solution.
  3. Follow the schedule provided by your optometrist. Never wear daily contact lenses to sleep.
  4. Use new solution each time you take out your contacts out. Never reuse or “top off” old solution in your contact case.
  5. Replace your contact case every three months. If damaged or cracked, replace immediately. 
  6. Never put contacts in your mouth to wet them. Saliva is not sterile and can cause irritation or infections.
  7. Always remove contact lenses before taking a shower, swimming, or participating in anything where water can enter the eye.
  8. When using solution, make sure the cap and tip of the bottle do not touch any other surface and keep the bottle tightly closed when not using.
  9. Refrain from using saline solution or rewetting drops to disinfect your lenses. These products are not disinfectants. 
  10. Your cornea and vision can change over time. Make sure to schedule regular eye exams to keep healthy vision and your contacts fresh and feeling comfortable. 

Daily disposable contact lenses allow for the eyes to receive a brand new contact lens, each and every day. Our tears contain proteins and fatty acids that “stick” to the surface of contact lenses, meaning that a monthly contact lens may become less comfortable with repeat wears.  The protein and lipid deposits also act as “antigens’ that our eyes may develop an allergy towards. Also, clarity of vision can become reduced towards the end of the month, as then lens wears. A fresh lens each day is better for eyes that experience dryness and/or allergies and is, in general, more comfortable. Daily disposable contact lenses also reduce the need to clean and disinfect and are associated with drastically lower rates of infection. 

“The number of hours per day an individual may safely and comfortably wear their contact lenses varies per patient. I ask that my patients who suffer from dry eye and allergies to remove their contact lenses once home for the evenings and “relax” in their glasses. I think that is a good idea in general, but a healthy and comfortable patient may wear their contact lenses until bedtime. Sleeping in contact lenses is always discouraged and the risks are discussed,” said Dr. Paige Laudicina, Optometrist at Eye Center, Inc.

At Eye Center, Inc we fit a wide range of reputable brand daily disposable contact lenses to fit our patients’  individual needs, lifestyles and budgets. We do not have a “go-to” brand. 

Millions of people wear contacts every day. If you’re still unsure about switching to contact lenses, call us at (941) 756-2020 and make an appointment. We’ll guide you to your perfect pair of lenses!

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Did you know your infant needs eye exams, too?

Did you know your infant needs eye exams, too?

At the Eye Center, Inc. we’re proud to be an InfantSEE provider, thanks to Dr. Madison Easterling. InfantSEE is a public health program, managed by Optometry Cares- The AOA Foundation designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an essential part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life. While Dr. Easterling loves seeing patients of all ages, this program allows her to provide a comprehensive eye assessment on infants between the ages of 6-12 months FREE of charge.

During the first few years of life, babies must learn to focus their eyes and move them together as a team which lays the foundation for many important developmental milestones. Therefore, undetected vision problems can have a significant impact on infant and childhood development.

InfantSEE provides early intervention using necessary specialized equipment and procedures – which are not available as part of most vision screenings. During an InfantSEE assessment, Dr. Easterling tests for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, eye movement ability, eye health problems, and discusses patients and family history.

“I love being a provider for InfantSee. It is a great screening program that allows us to diagnose vision and ocular problems before they negatively affect development,” said Dr. Easterling.

School screenings provide less than 4% of the eye tests needed to help children see and miss up to 75% of children with vision problems. Of the children found to have eye problems through screening, 61% never visit the doctor and get help. Before your child becomes of age for school, it is crucial to have their eyes examined and continue to do so through an optometrist annually. 

Healthy eyes create a healthy future. Call us today at (941) 756-2020 to schedule your infant’s appointment.


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