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


News for Manatee County Government Insurance Participants

News for Manatee County Government Insurance Participants

To our valued patients and friends,


Recently, the Manatee County Government and the School District of Manatee County has offered its employees new vision insurance options.

We wish to assure our patients that Eye Center, Inc is happy to accept whichever insurance plan you choose. We would be honored to continue your care.

Eye Center, Inc has proudly served the vision and eye health needs of Manatee County families for more than fifty years. Thank you for choosing to continue our relationship!


With gratefulness this holiday season,

The Eye Center, Inc. Family


Dr. Michael Mackie

Dr. Sarah Mackie

Dr. Paige Laudicina

Dr. Brad Laudicina

Dr. Douglas Black

Dr. Madison Easterling

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Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

The most important investment that you can make is your health. With the hustle and bustle of the day to day routine, certain things can go on the back burner. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month and we are taking this time to raise awareness about this pressing issue. Many people with diabetes are unaware of the risk of diabetic eye disease because there are no early symptoms.

According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic eye disease or diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in adults 20–74 years of age. Other optical complications surrounding diabetes also include cataract and glaucoma.

What that means is anyone with diabetes is at risk for vision loss and blindness from diabetic eye disease. The aging community has the highest risk of developing this disease. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk is of developing diabetic eye disease. Other groups at high risk for diabetic eye disease are Native Americans, Latinos and African Americans.

There are some ways to reduce the risk of this disease like careful diabetes management, but because there are little to no early symptoms of this disease, the only way to fully protect yourself is by undergoing a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.  All diabetics should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once a year. Early detection and timely treatment is the key to preventing vision loss and blindness.

Over 7.7 million people aged 40 and over suffer from diabetic eye disease, and the number is projected to increase to more than 11 million by 2030. Protect yourself from becoming another statistic by having frequent comprehensive dilated eye examinations for early detection and prevention of retinal damage.

Schedule an eye exam today at Eye Center, Inc. to protect your most valuable asset — your sight.


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Binocular Vision

Binocular Vision

Written By: Dr. Paige G. Laudicina

Kids are now a couple of months back into school life, and with that comes a reminder of the importance of eye exams. I want to introduce and discuss a topic that I believe to be both undervalued and under-examined – binocular vision.

Binocular vision means using the two eyes together to create a single, clear, and comfortable image for the viewer. It is very important for a child (and an adult!) to have adequate binocular vision, in order to be efficient in their school work. It is also important to mention that binocular vision is not assessed during vision screenings and can only be measured through a comprehensive eye exam.

One of the first components of a patient’s binocular vision we examine, is the ability to converge the eyes. Convergence is the act of bringing the two eyes together while looking at something up close (think “crossing your eyes”.) It’s crucial the eyes do this well, for someone to read or do homework for an extended period of time.

Without adequate convergence, someone might get very tired while reading, experience a headache, or may even experience double vision, or the perception that words and letters are moving around on the page.

How distracting! Once diagnosed, certain glasses and/or vision therapy exercises can help improve and sustain convergence.

Another element to assess in binocular vision is a patient’s ability to accommodate, or “focus” their eyes. When we look to the distance, our eyes should be relaxed, but when we look at things close to us, it requires eye muscles to engage. It’s important these muscles work efficiently and rather effortlessly to provide clear and comfortable vision for the individual. Accommodative insufficiency is a term that describes weak focusing muscles and is commonly treated with reading glasses.

Lastly, it’s important to examine what we call a phoria, or the eye’s natural resting position. In an ideal world, a person’s two eyes would point in exactly the same direction and move fluidly together, as we view the world around us. However, it’s quite common for the eyes to turn inwards or outwards, slightly. In small amounts, this is normal and easily compensated for, and the viewer will have no symptoms.

In other cases, one eye can drift too far in or out, and the viewer may experience uncomfortable vision, and possibly double vision. To improve this, we sometimes prescribe glasses with prism.

Prism reduces the amount of effort the eyes must expend, to maintain a single, clear, and comfortable image.

It’s also important to evaluate a phoria to prevent a condition called amblyopia, more commonly referred to as “lazy eye.” If an eye develops a tendency to turn inward or outward too often, one eye may become visually impaired due to lack ofuse. It’s imperative to diagnose and treat amblyopia while a child is still young, as it gets significantly more difficult, and perhaps impossible, to correct after the visual system is fully developed, around age eight or nine

This may seem like a lot of information to digest, but fear not. At Eye Center, Inc., your child will receive a very thorough eye exam. We assess the possible need for glasses or contact lenses, evaluate the binocular system, and examine the health of the ocular anatomy. We will make absolutely certain your child has the best vision possible to succeed in this school year, and those to follow.

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Fall Frame Trunk Show

Fall Frame Trunk Show

Join Eye Center, Inc. for our Fall Frame Trunk Show!

It will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Cortez location — 2003 Cortez Road, Bradenton.

Snag the newest styles of designer frames for up to 40% off. Brands participating include: Smith, Fendi, Lilly Pulitzer, Vera Wang, Banana Republic, Kate Spade & more. There will also be huge savings on prescription lens packages.

Enjoy appetizers and refreshments while fabulous raffles and giveaways occur every 30 minutes… including FREE eyewear!

Use it or lose it! Spend your 2018 FSA dollars on stylish eyewear before time runs out.

Call us at 941-756-2020 if you have any questions. We can’t wait to see you there!

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Staff Feature: Dr. Paige Laudicina

Staff Feature: Dr. Paige Laudicina

The September staff feature is Dr. Paige Laudicina, an optometrist with Eye Center, Inc. Dr. Paige is originally from Naples, FL. and attended the University of Florida before earning her Doctorate of Optometry from Nova Southeastern University in 2011. She is happily married to Dr. Brad Laudicina, also an optometrist at Eye Center, Inc., and together they have one adorable son, Chase.

Why did you choose to work in this industry?

I always planned on working in healthcare, and I became fascinated with the eyes and vision, in about the eighth grade. My mom brought me with her to her eye exam, and I was hooked.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

My patients. I enjoy speaking with my patients, interpreting how they feel about their vision and their eyes, and coming up with a well thought out and well communicated game plan.

Describe yourself using only film titles.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil. (I don’t see very well and my husband doesn’t hear well…. :). We’re quite the pair.)


Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

Probably snow skiing in Whistler, BC. Being in a valley surrounded by mountains and everything covered in fresh powder. Felt like I had the mountains to myself.

What is your signature comfort food?

Pepperoni Pizza

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

Raja (my dog) is a bit annoyed at how much time I spend with my two year old son, Chase. Other than that, she’d say I’m pretty good to her.

Do you have a favorite board or card game?

Gin Rummy! My husband and I have a pretty fierce competition going.

What’s “your” karaoke song?

I’ve only done Karaoke once: Madonna “Like a Prayer.” Apparently the song is over five minutes long. I regretted that.

Visit Dr. Paige at the Cortez office on Tuesdays and Thursdays or at the Manatee office on Fridays and Saturdays. Give us a call to schedule your next comprehensive dilated eye exam at 941-756-2020.

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Live Well. Age Well. See Well.

Live Well. Age Well. See Well.

Vision loss in not a normal part of aging. Repeat, vision loss is not a normal part of aging.

However, older adults are at a higher risk for certain eye conditions and diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and dry eye.

As the medical field continues to advance, an increasing number of people are living longer and making a conscious effort to improve their health. People are following healthy diets, exercising regularly, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and the smoking trend is decreasing. Routine comprehensive dilated eye exams should be included in this list of health trends.

More than 40 million Americans are currently 65 or older, and this number is expected to grow to more than 88 million by 2050. By that same year, the number of Americans with age-related eye diseases is projected to double, and the number of people living with low vision is expected to triple. Early detection and treatment are key to saving sight.

It’s time to take control of your vision.

See your eye care professional.

Even if you enjoy good or great vision now, the best thing you can do is visit your eye care professional once a year to maintain your eye health. As you get older, you are at a higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. These diseases often have no warning signs or symptoms in their early stages. Generally, the only way to detect them before they progress and cause vision loss is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Fortunately, if your eye care professional catches and treats these conditions early, he or she can protect your eyesight.

Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

A comprehensive dilated eye exam is important to maintain and protect healthy vision. During this exam, drops are placed in the eyes to dilate or widen the pupils. The eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine the retina for signs of damage and other eye problems.

Having a dilated eye exam every year or as recommended by your eye care professional can help detect age-related eye diseases in their early stages. So even if you are not experiencing vision problems, one of the best things you can do for your sight is get an annual eye exam.

Live a healthy lifestyle.

In addition to seeing your eye care professional routinely, you can take the following steps to protect your eyes:

  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Incorporate rich in leafy green vegetables and fish into your diet
  • Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat anytime you are outside in the sun
  • Wear protective eyewear when working around the house or playing sports

If you are 50 or older, make it a priority to visit your Eye Center, Inc. doctor annually. Remember, vision loss is not a normal part of aging. Your eye health is your responsibility, and only you have the control to schedule your routine comprehensive dilated eye exam. Call 941-756-2020 today.


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Staff Feature: Erin Ellis

Staff Feature: Erin Ellis

At Eye Center, Inc. we want you to feel welcome and comfortable when you visit us for your eye care. Getting to know our staff on a more personal level will add an element of friendliness when you visit one of our offices and see a familiar face. We’ve decided to periodically feature members of our staff, beginning with Erin Ellis, an insurance manager with Eye Center, Inc.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

EE: What I love most about my job is the sense of family around our workplace. Our company truly values people on a personal level.

Describe yourself using only film titles.

EE: 9-5 or It’s a Wonderful Life

Tell us about your approach to customer service.

EE: Customer service means going above and beyond to keep patients happy, whether that means answering any questions they may have or resolving issues with a positive attitude.

What is your signature comfort food?

EE: My Mom’s pot roast.

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

EE: A trip to Disney!

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

EE: ”She’s the only one that remembers to feed me.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

EE: My Grandmother told me not to sweat the small stuff like a messy house when the kids are little… because they grow up so fast. I remind myself of this almost everyday.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?

EE: Pink, because it’s girly.

What’s the last song you listened to?

EE: Coldplay – “In My Place”

If you could be on any TV game show, which would you choose?

EE: Big Brother

What’s “your” karaoke song?

EE: Beastie Boys – “Intergalactic”

Photo courtesy of exploregeorgia.org

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

EE: The view from the top of Brasstown Bald Mountain.  

What’s your pizza order?

EE: White pizza with broccoli and garlic

If you had just a toaster oven-sized box for all of your stuff, what would you put in it?

EE: Baby pictures of my boys.

Give us a call at 941-756-2020 to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today. You might just see Erin during your next visit, and if you’re a Disney lover or Coldplay fan you’ll have plenty to chat about!


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August is Children's Eye Health Month

August is Children's Eye Health Month

Cooing, crawling and walking are signs that your baby is growing at a healthy pace. Your baby’s vision has stages of development too, but the signs marking progress with your baby’s eyesight are not as evident.

Those little eyes will be the windows she uses to learn almost everything about her new world. It’s up to you to help guarantee she sees her new world clearly and accurately.

Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent, the American Optometric Association recommends scheduling your baby’s first eye assessment at 6 months of age.

At Eye Center, Inc. we are proud to announce that our very own Dr. Madison Easterling is a participating InfantSEE provider. Developed by the AOA and Johnson & Johnson Vision, InfantSEE is a public health program designed to ensure eye and vision care becomes an essential part of infant wellness.

Under this program, Dr. Easterling provides a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service.

Dr. Easterling will test for the following:

  • excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism
  • eye movement ability
  • eye health problems

These problems are not common, but it is important to identify children who have them at this young age. Vision development and eye health problems are easier to correct if treatment begins early.

Many eye conditions have no symptoms that can be identified by a parent or in a well baby check-up. Early detection is the best way to make sure your child has healthy eyes and appropriate development of vision.

Why should I take my baby to an InfantSEE provider?

Many eye problems emerge from conditions that can be identified by an eye doctor in the infant’s first year of life. One in every 10 children is at risk from undiagnosed eye and vision problems. Moreover, many children at risk for eye and vision problems are not being identified at an early age, when many of those problems might be prevented or more easily corrected.

Approximately 3.9 million children were born in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In approximately 4 percent, strabismus will develop, and amblyopia will develop in 3 percent. This equates to as many as 200,000 infants born each year who are at risk for serious eye and vision problems.

Early intervention is critical to successful and cost-effective treatment. Despite the nation’s present system of preschool vision screening, the importance of periodic professional eye and vision assessments is widely overlooked.

What is the optometrist looking for during an assessment?

Some eye conditions are strongly linked to family history, so the first step for the optometrist is to compile a history on the child.

Assessment of visual acuity for infants and toddlers may include tests to assess that the infant can fix his eyes on an object and follow the object, or at which objects the baby prefers to look, and at what distances.

The doctor may use lenses and light to assess the refractive status, or how the eye responds to particular targets.

Using her hands, a light, or a toy, the optometrist catches the baby’s attention and observes how the baby’s eye movement follows the object.

By covering one eye at a time, the optometrist gathers information about the eye muscles, eye alignment and binocular potential.

The optometrist will examine the eye’s structure as well as eyelids, tear ducts, and other parts of the eye for overall eye health.

Call Eye Center, Inc. today at 941-756-2020 to schedule your InfantSEE appointment with Dr. Easterling.

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