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Maryville, IL (KSDK) - Thirty-five people can see better evening after receiving free eye surgery.

It's called Mission Cataract, a project to provide vision-saving surgery to the neediest patients in the area.

Surgeons say performing the surgeries is their way of giving back to their community.

While many of the patients are elderly and on fixed incomes, others simply don't have insurance.

"A lot of these patients have waited years to get it done. A lot of them have been putting this off for months and months, and have been off of work until we can get them in and get them done, so yeah, this would be a big impact on these patients' lives," said Michael Jones, M.D.

"I ain't seen out of this eye in so long it's probably going to take me a while to switch over to this eye, but yeah, I can see clear, real good," said Lee Thompson.

It's the 21st year for Mission Cataract. Surgeons at Illinois Eye Surgeons estimate they've given the gift of sight to hundreds of patients over the years.