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


May: Healthy Vision Month

May: Healthy Vision Month

Your eyes are a window to the world, from the moment they open in the morning to the moment they close at night. They deliver 80% of the information you consume daily — the people you care about, the career you pursue and the things you love to see and do! Naturally, it’s extremely important to keep them safe and healthy.

In 2003, the National Eye Institute (NEI) established May as Healthy Vision Month. During this annual observance, Eye Center, Inc. encourages Americans to make their eye health a priority and learn how to preserve their eye health and safety.

Most people are quick to say they don’t think they have an eye problem. Many eye diseases don’t show symptoms in the early stages, so without an eye exam there are no warning signs. It is projected that by 2030, 3.7 million will have age-related macular degeneration, 4.2 million will have glaucoma and 11.4 million people will have diabetic retinopathy.

This year, Eye Center, Inc. is highlighting the importance of prevention, especially among young adults ages 25–35 who may be at risk for vision issues in the future, based on their health and lifestyle trends now.

Get an eye exam: More than 23 million American adults have never had an eye exam. If your eyes feel healthy, it’s natural to assume they are healthy. But getting an eye exam is the only way to guarantee the status of your eye health. When it comes to vision, you may not realize your need for glasses or contacts. And with the lack of warning signs associated with most serious eye diseases, it’s very possible to have an eye problem and not know it. An eye exam is the best way to be confident in your eye health! Learn more about eye exams.

Know your family history: You might have your mother’s upturned eyes and your father’s blue eyes, but did you know eye health can be hereditary too? Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and older siblings about their eye health. It’s valuable to be aware if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease. This will help determine whether you are at a higher risk for developing an eye disease yourself!

Protect your eyes at work and play: About 2,000 people in the United States get a serious work-related eye injury every day. And how crazy is this: people with sports-related eye injuries end up in the ER every 13 minutes! The good news is you can protect your eyes from injury by wearing protective eyewear, like safety glasses, goggles, and safety shields. To make sure you have the right kind of protective eyewear and you’re using it correctly, talk with your eye doctor.

Give your eyes a rest: Do your eyes ever feel dry or exhausted at the end of the day? If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing intently on a specific project, you might go extended periods of time without blinking. This can tire your eyes. Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your work and focus about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This reduces eyestrain and helps your eyes feel better at the end of the day.

Wear sunglasses (even on cloudy days): Your shades can protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays — and help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp. When shopping for sunglasses, look for a pair that blocks out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation. Bonus: add a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection!

Eat eye-healthy foods: The old tale is true: carrots are good for your eyes! In fact, a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables — especially dark leafy greens, like spinach or kale — is crucial for eye health. Research also shows that fish high in omega-3 fatty acids — like salmon, tuna and halibut — can help protect your vision.

Stay at a healthy weight: Your likelihood to develop diabetes and other health problems that can lead to vision loss increases with obesity. If you struggle with your weight, talk to your doctor about how it could be impacting your vision.

Get plenty of physical activity: Regular physical activity benefits your entire body. It can boost your mood, reduce stress, help you stay at a healthy weight — and protect you from serious eye disease! Anything that gets your heart beating faster — like taking a quick walk or dancing — can contribute to maintaining your eye health.

Healthy Vision Month is a time to raise awareness about eye health and strategies to help prevent vision loss and blindness. There are many ways to get involved, but priority #1 is to get an eye exam — and encourage the people you care about to do the same! Call Eye Center, Inc. today to schedule your Comprehensive Eye Exam at any of our three convenient locations: 941-756-2020.


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Dry eyes? Introducing InflammaDry.

Dry eyes? Introducing InflammaDry.

Dry eye is a chronic condition that requires long term maintenance and affects more than three million people per year. The risk of developing dry eye increases with advancing age, and women have a higher prevalence of dry eye compared with men.

The first step in treatment is usually daily, consistent use of a doctor recommended artificial tear. Fortunately, many people do quite well with an appropriate artificial tear drop, dosed between two and four times per day.

When that isn’t enough however, there are other treatment options available, and now Eye Center, Inc. offers a screening test informing us which treatment is most appropriate for an individual patient’s dry eye.


The lack of correlation between clinical signs and symptoms of dry eye disease makes diagnosing and treating patients a challenge. Inflammation is often present before the clinical signs of dry eye. InflammaDry is the first and only rapid result, in-office test that helps us diagnose the TYPE of dry eye a patient is presenting. And the type of dry eye is very important in the specific treatment plan.

InflammaDry identifies elevated levels of MMP-9, an inflammatory marker that is consistently elevated in the tears of patients with dry eye disease. All other dry eye tests measure tear production and stability. Using a simple 4-step process, InflammaDry recognizes elevated levels of MMP-9, to identify patients that may otherwise be missed with other dry eye testing methods.

Using direct sampling microfiltration technology, InflammaDry accurately identifies elevated levels of MMP-9 protein in tear fluid samples taken from the inside lining of the lower eyelid. In four simple steps, InflammaDry test results are achieved in just 10 minutes, aiding in the diagnosis of dry eye before the patient leaves the office.

InflammaDry provides highly accurate results: 85% sensitivity, 94% specificity.

Basically, a positive result means a patient has dry eye due to inflammation, and a negative result means a patient has dry eye due to other factors.

Why is this important? Depending on the InflammaDry results, the next treatment in the Dry Eye therapy hierarchy varies. Punctal plugs (tiny plugs of silicone inserted into the tear duct, keeping our tears from draining too quickly) are beneficial for patients whose tears are evaporating and draining too quickly, whereas medications like Restasis or Xiidra (medication strength drops which work the the immune system to suppress inflammation) are more appropriate for patients who test positive for inflammation.

Dry eye causes a scratchy sensation or the feeling that something is in the eye. Other symptoms include stinging or burning, episodes of excess tearing that follow periods of dryness, discharge, pain, and redness in the eye. People with dry eye may also feel as if their eyelids are heavy and may experience blurred vision. If you are demonstrating any of these signs, please call us to schedule an appointment for an InflammaDry test!

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Get outside. Be active. Don’t drop the ball on sports eye safety.

Get outside. Be active. Don’t drop the ball on sports eye safety.

April is Sports Eye Safety Month. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the outdoors while keeping in mind the importance of your vision. Eye Center, Inc. encourages you to take safety into your owns hands and make your eyes a priority.

More than 40 percent of eye injuries are related to sports or recreational activities. But almost all (literally about 90%) eye injuries can be prevented by simply wearing protective eyewear!

Annually, about 30,000 people in the U.S. go to an emergency care center with a sports-related eye injury, according to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology. Three sports account for almost half of all injuries: basketball, baseball and paintball.

Basketball is the leading cause of injuries in males, followed by baseball/softball, and air or paintball guns. For females, baseball/softball is the primary reason for eye injuries, followed by cycling and soccer.

The type and severity of sports-related injuries varies. Corneal abrasions and bruises on the lids are less significant, while retinal detachment and internal bleeding can be vision-threatening. Any sort of blunt force trauma also puts someone at higher risk for developing glaucoma in the future. Annual eye exams are a simple way to monitor this closely. And as with any injury, the sooner you seek medical attention, the better.

About one-third of sports-related eye injuries happen to children. Kids will be kids, but as adults, we can do our best to keep them healthy and safe. Follow these tips to save vision at any age:

  • Glasses won’t cut it: Throwing on a pair of regular prescription or nonprescription glasses doesn’t always cut it. They can shatter when hit by flying objects. If you do wear prescription glasses, try sports goggles over top to protect both your eyes and frames.
  • Wear proper eye protection: For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear glasses with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses.
  • Put on your helmet: For baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse, wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield.
  • Throw out old gear: When your eye protection is damaged or yellowing with age, it’s time to throw them out. Wear and tear may cause them to become weak and less effective.
  • Know the standards: Choose eye protection that meets American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

There are certain daily tasks that can cause eye damage but people don’t normally think to use safety glasses. For example, sunglasses or protective glasses should be worn while mowing the lawn and performing overhead work, like landscaping, dusting and painting.

Eye Center, Inc. offers prescription and nonprescription sports goggles for adults and children with polycarbonate lenses. Also available are safety glasses with an ASTM approved frame and protective side shields for adults and children with polycarbonate lenses. Visit Eye Center, Inc. today or call us at (941) 756-2020 to learn more about protective eyewear for sports.

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How do you protect your eyes at work?

How do you protect your eyes at work?

How do you keep your eyes safe at work? According to Prevent Blindness, nearly one million Americans have lost some degree of their sight due to an eye injury. More than 700,000 Americans injure their eyes at work each year. Luckily, 90% of all workplace eye injuries can be avoided by using proper safety eyewear.

When it comes to eye injuries in the workplace, both the worker and workplace share the pain. While the injured worker is out, due to the incident, the workplace gets hit with some pretty heavy costs and losses, too. The loss amounts to an estimated $300 million annually in medical bills, compensation and downtime, according to the Vision Council.

Whether you’re working at a construction site, an office, or anything in between, your eyes can be susceptible to damage. Desk jobs that require a lot of screen time can cause Digital Eye Strain. According to All About Vision, studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50% to 90% of computer workers. We have some D-EYE-Y tips on how you can curb those symptoms, here.


So, what can be done?

According to The Vision Council, “while vision loss is among the top 10 disabilities among American adults aged 18 years and older, 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable.” There are many ways you can protect your precious vision while on the clock. Using the proper eye protection is key.

Depending on the job and the type of hazard you are exposing yourself to (and let’s not forget your own routine vision needs), eye protection for the job could vary, from goggles, face shields, and safety glasses to welding helmets, full-face respirators, and more.

The Centers for Disease Control also recommends creating a checklist for Eye Safety in the workplace.

  • Create a safe work environment
      1. You can accomplish this by minimizing hazards from unstable debris; making sure tools are working properly and workers and volunteers know how to use those tools; and keeping bystanders out of the way.
  • Evaluate your safety hazards
      1. Identify your primary hazards and posed hazards.
  • Wear the proper eye protection
      1. Make sure the eye protection is in good condition and fits properly.
  • Use good work practices
      1. Before removing your eye protection, dust off hardhats, hair, and forehead; don’ts rub eyes with dirty hands/clothing; clean eyewear regularly.
  • Prepare for eye injuries and first aid needs
    1. Be sure your workplace is equipped with an eye wash kit or sterile saline for rinsing. Artificial tears are also a good thing to have on hand in your first aid kit.

A good thing to keep in mind is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also establish standards of safety for the employer and employee.


Don’t be afraid to give us a call

We understand that accidents and the unexpected may happen, especially when you least expect it, which is why we offer Urgent Care for our patients. Even if we have a full schedule, our doctors routinely see patients the same day for unscheduled eye emergencies.  We also offer an after hours call service, which will help connect you to a doctor on our team.

Your vision is irreplaceable.

If you’ve been experiencing discomfort with your eyes, please call us today at (941) 756-2020. We have three convenient locations in Manatee County to best serve you.

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Success of Beertopia helps promote Vision Foundation

Success of Beertopia helps promote Vision Foundation

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


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Dry, itching eyes bothering you?

Dry, itching eyes bothering you?


Did you know seasonal and environmental factors can have an affect on our eyes? While this time of year is absolutely beautiful in Florida, the nice cooler, breezy air could be having a negative impact on your vision. Dry eye disease is estimated to affect millions of people in the United States, and symptoms and signs can be far and wide for each individual. Symptoms for dry eye can include periods of dryness irritation, redness, burning, watery eyes, blurred vision, and stinging.

According to the National Eye Institute, “Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when they evaporate too quickly. Dry eye can make it difficult to do some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as the air inside an airplane.”

With the ability to hinder everyday activities, dry eye can be a real nuisance, especially for those who opt for contact lenses.  


So what exactly causes dry eye? It can stem from an array of factors like age and gender, medical conditions, and environment to name a few. Here is a list of risk factors, according to the National Eye Institute.

  • Medications including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause, and medications for anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and high blood pressure have been associated with dry eye.
  • Advancing age is a risk factor for declines in tear production. Dry eye is more common in people age 50 years or older.
  • Rosacea (an inflammatory skin disease) and blepharitis (an inflammatory eyelid disease) can disrupt the function of the Meibomian glands.
  • Autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and Vitamin A deficiency are associated with dry eye.
  • Women are more likely to develop dry eye. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after menopause have been linked with dry eye. Women also have an increased risk for autoimmune disorders.
  • Windy, smoky, or dry environments increase tear evaporation.
  • Seasonal allergies can contribute to dry eye.
  • Prolonged periods of screen time encourage insufficient blinking.
  • Laser eye surgery may cause temporary dry eye symptoms.


It’s always best to consult with your optometrist if your eyes have been bothering you. While there are many options available, they can only provide temporary relief. Our first recommendation will usually be daily application of artificial tear drops, at least 2-4 times per day.

If you find yourself using artificial tears more frequently, it may be time to give us a call. We can help guide you towards a solution and relief, including some minor procedures, over-the-counter options, or, if needed, prescription strength drops.

Call us today at (941) 756-2020 to schedule an appointment with any of our six optometrists at the Eye Center, Inc. We offer three convenient optometry offices and optical centers in the Manatee County area.


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Eye Center, Inc. Doctors Out & About at Spring Community Events

We Care Manatee

Drs. Brad and Paige Laudicina were out supporting We Care Manatee for their annual fundraiser “Casino Night: Rollin’ on the River 2018”. This event was elegant and exciting, with a unique setting right on the Manatee River at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill.

The moonlight hit the water just right for an exceptional time filled with delicious food and drink, music, and more. Guests bid on silent and live auction items and enjoyed a special live performance.

Our very own, Dr. Brad Laudicina, is both a Director and provider for We Care Manatee. We Care Manatee is a 501c3 charitable nonprofit organization that delivers quality medical care and referral services at no cost to low-income, uninsured adult residents in Manatee County, Florida. We Care Manatee is made possible by the compassion and dedication of volunteer physicians, volunteers, and generosity of corporate and individual donors.

You can learn more about We Care Manatee here. We’re already excited for next year’s fundraiser!

Drs. Brad and Paige Laudicina at We Care Manatee’s annual fundraiser.


PACE Center for Girls

Dr. Michael Mackie, along with his daughters, attended the 9th Annual Snowflake Ball benefiting PACE Center for Girls Manatee. The event, held at the beautiful Laurel Oak Country Club, was a fun-filled evening. There was a ton of activities like dancing, crafts, auctions, and special guests! They even had horse-drawn carriage rides for the guests!

PACE’s mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. PACE values all girls and young women, believing each one deserves an opportunity to find her voice, achieve her potential and celebrate a life defined by responsibility, dignity, serenity and grace.

PACE Center for Girls has centers throughout Florida. Find out more on how they help our community here.

Dr. Michael Mackie and his girls dressed to impress for the PACE Center for Girls Snowflake Ball.


Manatee Chamber of Commerce 51st Annual Dinner

Drs. Madison Easterling, Brad Laudicina and Paige Laudicina attended the Manatee Chamber of Commerce‘s 51st Annual Dinner. The evening was spent celebrating the leadership of local business in the community. This signature Chamber event was able to bring local business leaders together and recognize member volunteers who have brought instrumental success to the community.


Pictured above is Drs. Madison Easterling, Brad Laudicina and Paige Laudicina at the Manatee Chamber of Commerce’s 51st Annual Dinner.

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Beertopia | February 24, 2018

Beertopia | February 24, 2018

Beertopia, the Vision Foundation’s annual fundraiser, is coming up on February 24, 2018! This entertaining night will be filled with craft beer from around the world, delicious cuisine, an impressive selection of silent auction and raffle items, and a live performance by Kettle of Fish.


Beertopia is presented by Blue Point Brewing and hosted by Gold Coast Eagle Distributing in their spacious loading dock… a very unique venue to which we’re lucky to have access!  Based out of New York, Blue Point Brewing has been brewing high-quality, award-winning beers for nearly 20 years. Vendors for this event will include some of the finest local cuisine, like Cedar Reef Fish Camp, Swordfish Grill, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Chicken Kitchen, Birdrock Taco Shack, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, enRich Bistro, Cafe Baci, 3 Keys Brewing, and more!  


There will be an assortment of beer that will impress any beer enthusiast or beer drinking novice. Don’t worry – if you’re not a beer drinker, there will also be plenty of drink options to choose from!


The Vision Foundation is 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.


Here’s a wonderful story that illustrates the Vision Foundation’s impact on our local community. Recently a teenager presented to us with cataracts, who was in need of a crucial but costly cataract surgery without even realizing it.  The cost of this surgery would have been a significant financial burden for the family, but the Vision Foundation was able to secure funding for the surgery and other related medical expenses, and our own Dr. Brad Laudicina is offering ongoing care and follow-up examinations for the patient at no cost. It’s an honor to give the gift of eye health however we can to our community.  You can also read more about the Vision Foundation in our blog archives.


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


Should be a great time! We hope to see you all there.  Purchase tickets online… coming soon!

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