The new Southwest Florida Children’s Charities eye institute is getting ready to open.
Dr. Shauna Berry, one of the doctors hired during the expansion, spoke about what inspired her to pursue the field.
“When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I had this unfortunate incident with superglue,” Berry said. “And it actually closed my eye shut.”
The doctor who unglued her eye, Berry said, made her “feel really comfortable,” and left an indelible impression. Berry knew at that moment, with one eye stuck shut, she wanted to be a pediatric ophthalmologist. The sticky situation lead to nine years of school, and now Berry helps Dr. Jessica Kovarik balance the massive caseload at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
For years, Kovarik was the only pediatric eye doctor at the hospital, treating premature babies who often have vision issues, as well as older children, in five counties.
“The wait was many, many months,” Kovarik said. “I think at one point it was something like nine months.”
Soon they’ll move into a new location off Summerlin Road, specifically built for vision exams, which will allow for a total of four ophthalmologists on staff.
“I had a patient that came in that was 7, and he could not see anything,” Berry said. “We got him on treatment, and he’s 20/20 now.”
SWFL Children’s Charities has committed $3 million to cover the expenses of the new eye institute. This weekend, the organization is hosting its annual fundraiser. WINK News’ partners at Gulfshore Life Magazine are sponsors.
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