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


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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Children and Digital Devices

Children and Digital Devices

Technology may play a large role when it comes to education and our children, however, there are risks that come along with too much screen time. Screen time is defined by the amount of time a person spends staring at digital displays such as computers, tablets, smartphones, television, etc. 

Babies are the most vulnerable to screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies aged 18 months and younger should not be exposed to any digital media. The noise is just as distracting for infants. Babies can be overstimulated by sounds, which may cause distress and sleep problems. For children 2 to 5 years of age, screen time should be limited to one hour per day. The AAP gives cartoons a thumbs down because toddler-aged children cannot decipher between fiction and non-fiction. However, they give a thumbs up to media such as Skype or Facetime with friends and relatives. An hour of this style of media can promote healthy development. For children ages 6 and older, parents can determine the restrictions for total screen time. The AAP states that digital media should never replace healthy activities or social face-to-face interactions, but they do state that an average day for a child 6 and older consists of 8-12 hours of school, homework, physical activity, social contact, and sleep. Whatever time is left over after these key aspects are done, can be screen time. 

According to The Vision Council, 30% of parents report their children experience at least one of the following symptoms after being exposed to more than two hours of screen time per day:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Eye strain, dry or irritated eyes
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior
  • Irritability 

The LED screens of digital devices produce high-energy visible light known as “blue light.” Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than most other rays and can be harmful to the light-sensitive retina of the eye. Too much exposure to blue light can also lead to disruption of your child’s sleep/wake schedule, which in return, can come with very serious health consequences.

If your child is exposed to digital devices higher than the recommended frequency stated above, we suggest they wear blue light glasses. These glasses help reduce the amount of blue light that enters the eye, ultimately reducing the risk of retina damage and short-term symptoms like headaches and eye strain. Call us at (941) 756-2020 to get your child a pair of blue light glasses today!

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New Partnership with Sun Hydraulics

New Partnership with Sun Hydraulics

Eye Center, Inc. is proud to announce a new partnership with Sun Hydraulics to customize prescription safety glasses for its more than 700 employees.  Sun Hydraulics is a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance screw-in hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds that control force, speed and motion as integral components in fluid power systems. 

In the past, Sun Hydraulics did not mandate protective eyewear for its staff. The only requirement for vision safety was that employees wear some type of glasses with temporary side shields.  A recent decision by company leadership to improve the organization’s commitment to eye safety resulted in a partnership with Eye Center, Inc. that provides all employees with comprehensive eye exams and safety glasses that meet American National Standards Institute standards with Z78.1 safety frames.  These frames are heat and impact resistant, providing necessary protection from being splashed with chemicals such as hydraulic fluid. The lenses have a 3mm thickness at the thinnest point and are impact and scratch-resistant. 

Since the partnership was implemented nearly three months ago, Sun Hydraulics staff have visited Eye Center, Inc. for eyewear fittings, with most needing new exams for up-to-date measurements of their glasses prescriptions. At this time, Sun Hydraulics is rapidly approaching its goal for 100% of employees to wear safety glasses made locally at Eye Center, Inc. 

The doctors and staff at the Eye Center have been a tremendous help to us in implementing our employee prescription safety glasses program. They were flexible, personable, and worked with us closely to provide a plan to fit our needs. Their experience working with other area employers helped our program launch very smoothly,” -Aaron Imel, Safety Manager, Sun Hydraulics LLC.

Eye Center, Inc. has a long history of supporting the protective eyewear and vision health needs of local industrial workplaces in Manatee and Sarasota County. Currently, Eye Center, Inc. manufactures all safety glasses for Tropicana, Pierce Manufacturing, Port Manatee and now Sun Hydraulics.  Dr. Brad Laudicina, a Board-certified optometrist and partner in Eye Center, Inc. who spearheaded the new relationship with Sun Hydraulics, remarks, “Eye Center, Inc. is always looking for new partners who are interested in investing in the vision care of its team by providing safety glasses with or without prescription lenses to its employees. We’re thrilled to support the needs of a people-first local company like Sun Hydraulics, that is on the cutting edge of not only advanced manufacturing but employee health and wellness initiatives, as well.” 

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