Laser Eye Surgery (LASIK)

Parent Q&A

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  • Lasik at Kaiser

    (2 replies)

    I have vision care through Kaiser and am considering getting Lasik done within the next year. I'd love to hear from anyone who has had Lasik done through Kaiser and what your experience was like.

    Hi - I had Lasik done through Kaiser about three years ago.  I am thrilled with my results and really liked my doctor, he was in Walnut Creek. I looked at UC Berkeley and Dr. Scott Hyver, but was convinced to go with Kaiser as the machines they used were the most modern, using the newest technology. I was able to see my regular Kaiser eye doc for follow up visits and that made things really easy.  I LOVE not wearing glasses or contacts!

    I had Lasik done at Kaiser about two and a half years ago. I opted to get Wavefront

    The consult and all follow up appointments were at the Walnut Creek facility, but the actually surgery was at another location in the area. On surgery day I was SUPER nervous. More nervous than most patients, according to the front desk receptionist. Despite that, everything went very smoothly and I was literally back to work (seeing perfectly) the very next day. I had no pain or discomfort and healed well. I would definitely recommend it for anyone that is a candidate.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Jan 2010

I'm looking for some feedback on lasik doctors and the archives are a few years out of date at this point. I've had 2 consults, one at Pacific Vision Institute and 1 with Dr. Goodman (I'm in San Francisco). Each told me I was a candidate for a different procedure- at PVI (though Dr. Faktoravich never saw me) the tech first told me my eyes were ''exceedingly normal'' but the woman guiding me through the exam came back and told me my corneas were too thin for lasik and I was only a candidate for PRK. At Dr. Goodman's (where I got what seemed to be a much more comprehensive exam), I was told my corneas were on the thick side (he told me the numbers - high 5.xx and low 6.xx) and that I was an excellent candidate for lasik. He offered to refer me to someone for a second opinion if I wanted, but after double checking the thickness, couldn't say why the recommendation from PVI was different. Any insights from eye professionals out there? Where should i go for a second opinion? want more than 20/20 hindsight

I had lasik done at Newman Lasik Center in Hercules. Leonard Newman is the MD and he is great! His ad says he's performed over 43,000 procedures. They are very careful to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure and the exam they did was very extensive. They are friendly, professional and I was thrilled with the results. The # is 888-527-4515. Please feel free to contact me, if you want more info. Marika

2008 - 2007 Reviews

Sept 2008

I'm looking for any recommendations for a LASIKS (laser eye correction surgery) doctor or practice in the East Bay. Thanks. larry

My husband and I used Ellis Eye & Laser Medical Center ( for our LASIK and we were very happy with the results. Check out the website for Dr. Ellis' bio. He is one of the pioneers of LASIK. There are offices all over the Bay Area. The one you end up at for surgery depends on the type of LASIK you have. So glad I had LASIK

Many BPN members and their friends/family have had great results from LASIK (or other surgery when appropriate) from Dr. Mark Mandel. My husband is one of those people. He had his surgery after my sister did hers. They are both doing great years later. Check the website ( for tons of info. Then make an appointment to be evaluated and meet him. You might even get a discount if you tell them you were referred by someone from BPN. Dr. Mandel is always thinking about his patient's safety first. He is the guy that doctors themselves will go to for LASIK. He is guy that sees the patients that had problems with their LASIK from other surgeons. Happy 20/20

I highly recommend Mark Mandel, MD, for any type of refractive surgery. If LASIK is not right for your eyes, he'll tell you if there is another procedure. I was very near-sighted and now I see great. His main office is in Hayward, but he does the surgery in San Leandro, SF, and Campbell. His staff is very well-trained. His office number is 510-886-3937. eagle eyes

I used a doctor (recommended thru BPN) through Horizon Vision. The procedure worked great, but the payment plan is a bust. One of their(2)finance vehicles, Wells Fargo Financial, delayed their statements in order to collect late fees. I had checked with Horizon beforehand, worried about this possibility and they assured me it wouldn't happen. Yet, except for one month, my statements arrived late. If I had sent the payment without the statement it wouldn't have been credited correctly, because they require those payments to go to a different address (listed nowhere, not divulged unless specifically asked). In order to keep my credit rating in tact, I had to raid my home equity line. Horizon Vision was apologetic, but that was all. Dot your eyes

March 2008

I am think about get my lasik operation done in a couple of month. would like to ask for recommendation for a good lasik doctor. Also, did anybody use Dr, Newman from the Lasik center in Hercules? Need help

I had my lasik done with Dr. Newman in Hercules. He is fabulous!!! I highly recommend him. The whole office staff is extremely attentive and very thorough to make sure the procedure will work appropriately for you. The first visit was over an hour and they explained everything as well as taking measurements, pictures, etc. Dr. Newman put me totally at ease and told me everything that he was doing, what to expect, etc. It was almost like he was rapping through the whole procedure and it was great to have contact with him constantly. The procedure is very fast and painless. I was thrilled to be able to see so well the next day. It felt like a miracle. I am so glad I had it done and I highly recommend Newman Lasik. Feel free to e-mail if you have any other questions. marika

I had good results w/Dr Mandel in San Leandro. His staff are great, too. Josh

I used the laser eye center in Pleasanton. Here's the website, I didn't use Gary because he's much more expensive. I used the other doctor in the office. I forgot his name, it was 3 years ago & i love the results. It's a nice clean peaceful office & everyone was nice. If you decide to go tell them Shelly Robinson referred you. I'm loving my new eyes! Shelly

Oct 2007

I am strongly considering Laser Vision Correction (i.e. LASIK), and my Optometrist has recommended the UC Berkeley Refractive Surgery Center for this procedure. Has anybody had this done at UC Berkeley, and have any comments good or bad about the experience and results? Two friends have recommended somebody else (LVC Dr. ''to the stars'') based out of San Jose. They have had fantastic results with him. Over-wearing contacts has caused me to tear my cornea twice, and I'm too active for glasses (mountaineering, etc.), so I am finally ready to do this, but want to be sure to go to the right person, of course. Would appreciate any recommendations. A

I am having my lasik procedure tomorrow and am so excited! I cannot comment on UC Berkeley but can tell you that I am seeing Dr. Mark Mandel after extensive research, good reviews from 3 friends and the input of my daughter's pediatric Opthamologist (who trained under him). The pre-op experience has been wonderful and I expect nothing less during and after tomorrow's procedure. Feel free to contact me for the follow up story.... Laurie

I had laser vision correction surgery at UC Berkeley about 4 years ago. My eye Dr recommended them. I was very nervous about it, but It went great! The staff was kind and helpful and the Dr's were great. My recovery was easy and best of all, I can see!!! gretchen

June 2007

Need recommendations for the BEST place for LASIK eye surgery in the bay area. Very nervous about the long-term effects but after 23 years I think I'm ready to give up my contact lenses. Any post-surgery regrets? Alex

Before any surgery, it's important to research it as thoroughly as possible. Most people I know have NOT been happy with the outcome of their Lasik surgery. Here's a website with lots of information you won't find on commercial websites trying to sell you Lasik surgery:

Here are 5 reasons I know of NOT to have Lasik surgery: 1. Once you turn 40, you'll still need reading glasses and/or driving glasses. 2. Why operate on a healthy cornea when the problem is with the lens? 3. When you get cataracts and your lens is replaced, your vision will automatically be corrected then (unless you already had Lasik surgery to reshape your cornea to work with the bad lens). Why have eye surgery twice instead of once? 4. The down side of complications is far worse than the possible advantages of a successful outcome (assuming the results are in fact as satisfactory as you were promised). 5. Technology in eye surgery and in contact lenses is constantly improving. Common sense

I am sure you looked at the archives, so this might be repetitive. I highly recommend Dr. Mark Mandel and his staff. His number is (510)886-3937. His website is He is extremely experienced and greatly respected by the medical community. an eye doc

Dr. Daniel Goodman in SF. I had a great experience. I think I went from being a -5.00 in contacts to seeing 20/15 overall. AMAZING! The procedure was only slightly uncomfortable (normal), NEVER painful. It took about 30 seconds per eye - very quick! It's been a year and a half since my procedure and my vision is still stable. The procedure was expensive, but worth every penny and I've never regretted it. I have no halos at night, and my eyes are never dry or itchy. If I can remember, the consultation was $100 and it was applied to the price of the procedure. If you decide not to have it at all, then you, at the very least, have a contact lens or glasses prescription to show for the consultation. Kimberly in SF

I got lasik in December of 2005. The way I figure it, without glasses and contacts, my eyesight was so poor it was disabling, and I usually couldn't find my glasses, so I'd end up wearing my contacts waaay too long, which is actually really bad for your eyes. So, I know people are nervous about lasik, and I can understand their concerns, but I honestly feel like there are very real risks with contact lenses, too.

Anyway, I went to the Lasik Plus Vision Center in Foster City. They also have a location in Concord, and all over the US. I would pick some place with Wavefront technology-- it takes a ''fingerprint'' of your eye, so it's very customized, and a higher technology. Also, if your place offers a ''lifetime'' insurance, I'd go for that too-- you pay about $400 extra that way, but if you ever need another surgery or correction in your lifetime, it's covered. Totally worth it to me.

Know the risks: there are a few complications with some people. Follow post-surgery instructions to a T. For me, I had the surgery after I realized the risk of not doing it outweighed the risk of possible complications. Have someone to drive you to surgery and back. Happily 20/20

UC Berkeley Eye Center!! I had a really high perscription (-575 and -600) and honnestly I was more scared that I would be turned away than actually going through the proceedure. I hated getting my eyes checked, because every time i went in- my perscription got worse. So, when I went to UCB for a check up, my eyes did get worse, but they told me that doing LASIK wouldn't be a problem. I also qualifed for Wavefront- which basically is topography technology disigned by NASA, which resulted in giving me more depth and definition in my vision. They made me feel that my perscription was ''normal'' and they explained everything to me (yes, i also did research on line and checked out the doctor's credintals)and the staff was always super nice and professional. The UC Berkeley Eye Center absolutely rocks!! Dont know why I didn't do it sooner!!

By the way, the proceedure itself was painless..good drugs and honnestly, i'm sure you're used to having your eye balls touched. Remember to focus on the dot durring the proceedure. 20/20 and 20/15

My vision is better than 20/20 and I had corrected vision since the 5th grade and stigmatism. Dr. Ella Faktorovich ( operated on some of the 49ers and is heavily involved in clinical studies. I've interviewed UC Berkeley and thought Ella had the most experience and best service (at UC Berkeley the surgeon didn't even provide the consult). ghawai

Jan 2007

Hi there, I am looking into refractive surgery and since my eyes are the only two I've got I really want to be sure I find someone good. I'm looking for recommendations for surgeons in the Bay Area. I'd prefer Marin County or East Bay; next SF, but will travel, gladly, for someone really good. Thanks in advance!! Stephanie

Look up Dr. Mark Mandel in the East Bay (Hayward, San Leandro). He was on The Ronn Owens show (KGO) 2 weeks ago talking about LASIK and other eye stuff. Maybe you can request a transcript from KGO. (510) 886-3937 suzie

Please contact UC-Berkeley's Graduate School of Optometry's clinic (Eye Center) new Refractive Surgery Center: 643-3792. They have a new technology called Wave-front that improves on the Lasik treatment. It has Wavescan Wavefront and Active Trak tracking, which measures higher order aberrations in the eye, using an assortment of micro lenses. They can assess the wavefront as it leaves the eye and correct for these aberrations that you can't even see. Their website: UC-Berkeley's School of Optometry is top-rated in the country----a lot less grad students admitted per faculty than any other in the nation----a lot more personal attention and training. I have worked professionally with the faculty and grad students there and they have a wonderful community of fine and caring people there. UC School of Optometry fan

Jan 2007

My husband is interested in getting lasik surgery. He was interested in any DR. recommendations. We have Kaiser and VSP insurance (but don't think it's covered). Thanks!!! ssc

I posted another entry on the same topic, above: You should contact UC Berkeley's School of Optometry's Eye Clinic -- ask for their Refractive Surgery Center. I don't know why more people don't use this marvelous Optometry Center. They're the best----also they're good for children' s eye appointments, contact lenses, etc. The grad school of Optometry is top-rated in the U.S. and they now have new micro lenses, which are used on the most modern telescopes. Their number: 643-3792. They're open to the public. Fan of UC School of Optometry

2006 - 2005 Reviews

October 2006

I am at -1.5 diopters at each eye & am considering having Custom Wavefront Lasik done on my Right eye only. I don't know of anyone that's only had 1 eye lasik'd so I'm looking to get some advice from this community to see if anyone's done this & to see if there's a greater benefit to Custom Lasik vs. Basic Lasik technology. Also, has anyone been treated by either Dr. William Ellis or Dr. George Simon? Thanx a lot in advance sg

I am assuming the reason you want to correct one eye only is because you are over 40 and take your glasses off to read? Or, you are under 40 and very savvy that you will need reading glasses when over 40? In any case, what you are proposing is called monovision. If you have never experienced monovision before in contacts, you really should do that before you permanently change your eyes. About 2/3 of people adapt to monovision with no problems, while 1/3 of people have problems and hate it. Have your eye doc fit you with CL so you can see what you are planning on getting yourself into. --optometrist

April 2006

Can anybody advise if this is procedure is worth it, I hear so many different things. I don't mind glasses but if I can see like I used to, it's worth considering. Tks Paul

important considerations: has your Rx been stable for at least 1 year? (if not stable, then don't do it) how old are you? if you are pushing 40 then you may need consider having one eye done for distance and one for ''reading''

I got lasik done with Dr. Manche at stanford about $5k total for both eyes, custom- wavefront lasik for Rx -10.00 in both eyes. (50% discount for MDs)

now I am 20/20 in both eyes and it is wonderful! No more contacts. No more glasses. Though b/c i was so near-sighted, I have some minimal rainbow halos on the L eye, only noticeable when i stare into white lights at night.

All follow up appointments are included in the one time price. thus far I have had 3-5 appointments)

My good friend got it done by Scott Hyver and they seem great at customer service. and have lots of locations and did the 49ers and prices are competitive. Sophia

Yes, LASIK is definitely worth looking into. I got rid of my glasses/contacts 7 years ago this month. Mark Mandel was my surgeon. Call his office for a consultation (510-886-3937). Or check his website at seeing great!!

I had Lasix for near-sightedness 1 month ago. I am very please with the results, but it hasn't ''changed my life'' the way some Lasix patients report. My vision is very good now (20/20 in one eye, 20/15 in the other) but my pre-surgery vision was not bad (about 20/60 in each eye; my correction was only -1.75). And because I almost always wore contacts, the change in lifestyle is not as apparent if I had been wearing glasses previously. I think that if your vision is poor or if you wear glasses for almost every activity you will notice a big change with Lasix and will be very happy (although, as any good doctor will tell you, not every patient will achieve 20/20 vision). If you usually wear contacts and require minimum correction as I did, you will still be pleased with the results but it won't be a dramatic change. Liz O.

I had Lasik done in both eyes (severe near-sightedness) in 1999 and it was soooo worth it - I love being able to get up in the middle of the night without looking for my glasses (especially now that I have babies); I can fall asleep anytime without worrying about my contacts drying out; I don't have to take any extra supplies when I travel; no glasses to fog up or get wet when I ride a bike...and those are just the first benefits that come to mind. If you ever have moments where your glasses/contacts get in the way, I would definitely recommend Lasik. Almost 20/20

I got the lasik eye procedure done on both my eyes this past January and now have 20/20. I was extremely near-sighted (contacts prescription at -7)and am thrilled at the results. But whether it's worth it, is totally a personal decision. It is expensive (I paid $4800 for top-notch surgeon) and may depend on the condition of your corneas, whether first you will qualify for lasik and then second whether the procedure will likely restore your eyes back to 20/20. You need to be screened first to determine that. I got screened at UCB School of Optometry ('cuz if you make their cut it's cheaper), but didn't qualify for lasik there-- they are extremely conservative about the patients they perform lasik on and don't have all the latest and greatest lasers, so they turn down more people there than other clinics. From there I was referred to Dr. Mark Mandel's office in San Leandro and I easily fell within their parameters for performing lasik and that's where I had it done. So, sounds like it may only be worth it to you if you can get 20/20 back which you'll only know after you get screened-- good luck. Luisa

Mar 2006

I am scheduled to have Lasik surgery next month to correct my relatively mild nearsightedness. I am 40 and just barely beginning to have problems reading very small type or reading in a dimly lit room so the doctor has suggested I consider the monovision procedure. If you've had this procedure, please let me know whether you are pleased with your vision now. Do you see well far away? Do you think you've been able to delay the need for reading glasses by opting to only partially correct one eye? I'm really torn and any thoughts/advice would be appreciated. Liz

I've had this discussion with my ophthalmologist, Dr David Bui in Alameda, since I have considered this surgery. Whether or not you can deal with this depends on the way your brain deals with each eye having a different correction and taking over the work from the other eye. Some people adjust within a few weeks; others never do. Dr Bui recommended using a monovision contact lens to simulate the correction which would be achieved by the laser surgery. This will give you a good idea of how you'd adapt. Dr Bui has done surgery on several of my friends (both cosmetic and lasik) and they've been extremely happy. I'm his patient and highly recommend him for his excellent patient interaction -- he always answers my questions in great detail. His website is and his phone is 510 522-0377. Rachel

Jan 2005

I'm planning on having Lasik surgery this year and would like to hear from anyone who has had their surgery with any of the three surgeons I'm considering. Dr Mark Mandel - Optima Eye Dr Turner - Turner Eye Institute Dr Chandra - Kaiser Permanente ( Shadelands)

I highly recommend Dr. Mandel for your Lasik surgery. Both my husband and my sister in law had him do their surgery and they were thrilled with the results. I had no vision problems before my husband had his surgery and now his vision is better than mine. He reads menus for me in dark restaurants! My husband thoroughly researched the choices before choosing Dr. Mandel - and found that he had stellar reviews. S....

have you met all 3 surgeons and had your testing done? dr. mandel did surgery on my eyes in 1999, and my eyes are still 20/20. he is highly skilled and very calm. he is also conservative in his approach. most of his lasik patients are referrals from other doctors, or friends/family of prior patients, or people referred by websites like BPN. my brother- in-law is scheduled for surgery with dr. mandel in february. anon

Jan 2005

I'm thinking about having my Lasik procedure done at LasikPlus Vision Center in Concord, specifically with Dr. George Simon. I'd appreciate any feedback on the quality of care with Dr. Simon. Seems so cheap @ $799/per eye... and his experience is comparable to others that charge twice as much. Thank you. Tired of being legally blind

As an optometrist who works with many lasik patients, i would recommend NOT going to the cheapest guy on the block, despite his experience (there is often alot of fine print that is not disclosed). I would see a few different surgeons and also ask your optometrist or regular eyecare provider for a recommendation. Lasik is a serious medical procedure and requires proper screening, experienced and cautious surgeons, and proper follow up. These are your eyes-choose wisely! email me if you have any other questions. s

I had lasik done with Dr. Simon about 4 years ago. At the time it cost me $3,000 total. It was in its new stages..

I went from VERY bad vision to 15/20 & 20/20... I even went to the gym right afterward. I'm still very happy, I only wish I'd known that I could have brought a video to have it taped. if you have more questions feel free to email me. skopin [at] anon

I had Lasik done on both eyes by Dr. Simon in Concord in late 1999, and am totally happy with the service and the results. My vision was quite poor before and now I'm about 20/25 and do everything without glasses or contacts; my husband's eyes weren't as bad and now he's 20/20 or better. I'm so glad I did it, especially when I get up in the middle of the night with my baby! JP

I don't remember which doctor I used at LasikPlus but the staff were all great and very knowledgable and made me feel very comfortable. I had my eyes both done about 2 years ago and went from 20/400 and 20/200 in my eyes to 20/25 overall. I am a very happy camper!! kl

The Medical Board of California has a free web site service that allows you to check if a physician has been disciplined or formally accused of a wrongdoing, convicted of a felony, issued a citation by the Board, terminated by a hospital, malpractice judgments, arbitration awards, etc. After checking this web site, I decided not to go with the lasik surgeon I was considering because he couldn't give me good answers to the dings against his record. Here is the site: Lookup.htm Helena

2004 & Earlier

Nov 2004

I've been to several doctors for the Lasik evaluation and all have agreed I'm a good candidate. I checked references and so far I was the most impressed with Dr. Turner of the Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro. Was hoping to get some feedback from the Parent Network. Has anyone see him? Also some also recommended Dr. Bansal but I've not been there for an evaluation. Also wondering if anyone has had the newer procedure that is all laser - called intralasik. anon

I highly recommend Dr. Craig Bindi from the Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley. I went to their Pleasanton office and everyone on the staff was great! A year later and I still see 20/15. K

Sept 2004

I'm hoping to have lasik eye surgery done in the next few months and was wondering if anyone recently had it done using the new technique that is all laser - it's called intralase. It seems most doctors have been working with it for at least a year but being that it's so new was wondering if I should just do the routine lasik instead. I'm getting 3 opinions - Dr. Turner, Dr. Manche and Dr. Mandel. I've seen recommendation for the later two but not for Dr. Turner. Would love to hear your experience with the intralase and also Dr. Turner.
soon to be clearer

I had lasik eye surgery in mid-June. I had Dr. Mark Mandel do my eye surgery. He came highly recommended by 3 co-workers. I was a -5.75 in both eyes. I was able to have the new ''wave'' procedure, my vision was borderline if I was eligible for the new procedure. I do have a slight astigmatism, in both eyes. I have not yet reached the 3 month point, but I might go back and get my eyes ''adjusted'' again to get perfect vision. I believe its an additional $100 to the initial cost. But it was definitly worth the money & anxiety. Its been a great summer camping, swimming, etc. not having to worry about contacts. Good Luck A

June 2004

After 45 years of glasses and contacts I am just about ready to have lasik surgery at UC. (I have read the recent and archived postings). I would love to hear from anyone who chose to have one eye corrected for near vision and the other for distance. Do like having a greater range of sharp vision without needing glasses, or does it drive you nuts and/or give you headaches? Can you follow the trajectory of a tennis ball? Thanks, anon.

I had lasik done on both eyes about 1 1/2 years ago, after 40 years of glasses and wanting to also follow the trajectory of a tennis ball ..I had the surgery done at Pacific Laser Eye Center in Danville, and if you are a Cal Grad, they knock off 10%...(Go Bears)..I still wear reading glasses occasionally, but tennis is great!..Take the leap! Tim C

I used to work for a company that did LASIK and have known quite a few people who are happy with ''monovision'', the correction you're considering. The ophthamologist can give you contact lenses with the same two prescriptions he's planning to use so that you can do a test run to see if you like it. Some people adjust to it very easily and others don't. It is important to realize that you're giving up some sharpness for a greater range of clear vision. Good luck, it's a wonderful procedure! anon

June 2004

Hi, I am considering laser vision correction at Pacific Vision Institute with Dr. Ella G. Faktorovich. Would like to hear any feedback on the quality of service/care and any experiences with vision correction. It is really expensive?? $7,000.00. Does that sound right? Brandi

hi. I had vision correction with Dr. Mark Mandel at Horizon Vision Center. I was -10 in both eyes. It's been a year and I am 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in the other. I paid $3300. You definately shouldn't shop by the price but $7k sounds steep. The most important is finding a doctor that has done many surgeries. j

Hi Brandi,

I got a consultation w/ 3 places before having LASIK surgery. PVI was one of those places. My experience w/ them (and her) was that the facility sure looks impressive but the service left me cold. They scanned my right pupil, studied it, said that there was some concern (I have a pretty strong Rx), scanned my left pupil, barely glanced at it, and said we can do the surgery, and made an appointment for me for surgery the next week. I saw her for barely 2 minutes.

Considering the fact that I do have a high Rx, I had scratched my left cornea just a couple years before, that they studied the first scan carefully and said they had some concern, I expected them to also study the second one, not just give it a cursory glance, and explain to me what their concerns were. My impression was more that it was an eye shop than a real surgical center. I never went back (but I did call to cancel).

I got my surgery done w/ Dr. Daniel Goodman--and would highly recommend him and his office. They gave me thorough examinations, I also had a dry eye condition, which they made sure was corrected before performing the surgery several months later. They gave me an assessment of better than 90% of 20/40 vision, and a 75% chance of 20/20 vision. That very afternoon of the surgery, I had perfect vision -- and was confirmed w/ 20/15 and 20/10 vision at the follow-up exam (my eyes were .5 off between the left and right so this was expected).

He did both eyes at once (my preference) and my optometrist said he did a fantastic job -- she could barely see where the incision was made in the flap and 1 year later I still have better than 20/20 vision. She also said if I ever change optometrists, to let the new one know I had LASIK because they probably wouldn't be able to tell and they would have to recalibrate their equipment for it. Two of my officemates also had their eyes done there, 1 for monovision, and had the same great experience. I highly recommend him! 1199 Bush #350 (Hyde) San Francisco (415) 474-3333

The going rate when I got it last year was $5000 (pricey but soooo worth it). If you have VSP insurance, then it's $3600 out of pocket. You can go to Dr. Goodman for the whole thing, including using his office as your follow-up, or you can go through your optometrist. My optometrist was already an affiliate of theirs, so I paid her $100 for the pre-consultation (scan the eyes, assess for possibility -- let them know if I was a candidate) and follow-ups for 1 year -- this gets applied to the total amount.

If you have a healthcare FSA, I highly recommend setting it up for the surgery -- you can get it done at the beginning of the year, and be reimbursed even though you haven't put the full amount in. They also accept credit cards and have financing plans.

Good luck with your surgery! shedragon

I used a different doctor for my lasik. I just had ''wave front'' lasik done by Dr. Mark Mandel, and the procedure was $4,600 for both eyes. For the regular lasik his fee was $3,900 Good luck A

I can't speak to Dr. Faktorovich's Lasik skills, but my husband had a cornea transplant (at 33 yrs old for a degenerative eye condition) that she performed in July 2001. He thinks that she is the best: very well-educated and incredibly skilled in her work. On top of that, she is very personable and has a very attentive, responsive staff. He choose her b/c she specializes in corneas and she came highly recommended. Cornea transplants are tricky and take a long time to heal (2 years). With all of the follow-up visits required, he has had ample opportunity to assess her work. Thus, we highly recommend her. Hopefully, someone else can share their experience with regard to Lasiks. Good luck. P.S. She has a whole wall full of testimonials from satisfied patients. Christine

Feb 2004

I'm considering having Lasik surgery and would like to hear from others who've had it done in SF. I know about the UCSF vision center, but would like recommendations or critiques of other doctors. (Postings on the website are a bit out of date, and cover east bay dr's more thoroughly). Thanks. Tired of contact lenses

Hi, I just had LASIK surgery with Dr. Daniel Goodman in San Francisco last week. He is the surgeon that repairs procedures that go wrong. So far, I am very happy with the results--from being 25/20 for decades with lenses, I am now at 20/20 without. To be fair, usually corrections cannot improve vision beyond the level with lenses and my eyes may still regress but for now I am very pleased. Of course, choosing a surgeon with a good reputation costs and Dr. Goodman wasn't cheap. But if you want peace of mind and can afford it, I would strongly recommend him. 20/20 for now

one of the best LASIK surgeons in the east bay also performs surgery in SF. Check out Dr. Mark Mandel. His website is He has the lastest techniques and equipment. 20/20

Try UCSF for your lasik in San Francisco: 415- 476-2561

Ophthalmologists from all over the U.S. come to UCSF for training in excimer laser surgery. They do careful procedures, have long experience, and they wrote the protocols for doing lasik procedures safely.

Wherever you go, ask how long they've been doing the procedure (s), whether they do both eyes at the same time (safer to do them separately). Dr. Richard Abbott was featured in the April 3 issue of People Mag last year; check the People issue for more Q Merry

I highly reccomend Dr. Manche at Stanford University. Its not really that much farther than going into the city (parking is very simple). He did lasik on myself & my husband - 5 years ago and was incredible. Good luck

I had lasik done at:
Horizon Vision Centers Medical Group (800) 921.2020 by Dr. Mark Mandel
and was very pleased. I did alot of research and his name kept coming up. I had worn contacts for 22 years and was a -10 in both eyes. After lasik, i am 20/20. Pretty unbelievable. It's been almost a year since the procedure and the only downside is contrast of images in dark places is not as good as it was with my contacts, to me a small price for being able to see unassisted! good luck! jart

Nov 2003

Hi, I am thinking of doing the LASIK surgery. Has anyone had laser eye surgery at Ellis Eye & Laser Medical Center (Dr. William Ellis) located at El Cerrito Office, 6500 Fairmount Ave? I checked the website and there is only one mention of it. I would like to here from your experience (good or bad) about this doctor. Thanks a lot.

Hi there, Yes! I went to Dr. Ellis for my lasik surgery in April 2001. I have had 20/20 vision since then. I was pretty near-sighted before that. They diagnose you and tell you what your chances are of improving your sight and by how much. I went to him because my grandmother also saw him years ago for some other eye problem. She had minor surgery and was able to see much more clearly without her glasses, at the age of 80.

The tests are done in El Cerrito but the surgery was done in San Jose. You need to have someone drive you there and drive you back home, because you won't be able to ''see'' for that afternoon. You'll need to go home and just take a nap and rest. The surgery took less than 5 minutes total. I highly recommend it!! I love that I can now see without glasses. Good luck!

I haven't heard of your doctor but I'd like to reccomend the doc I used: Dr. Mark Mandel; It's close to a miracle that I'm 20/20 after being a -11 and it only took a couple minutes! jart

June 2003

I've read the recommendations regarding LASIK surgery on the web site, but was wondering if anybody out there who wore either hard lenses or gas permeable lenses has had the procedure. I've heard mixed things regarding hard lens wearers reactions - I've been told that even if their eye sight achieves 20/20 that everything still appears ''soft'' compared with the clear vision they experienced with their lenses. Has anybody experienced this? Thanks! Perfect Vision

I wore gas perms for years (15?) and just got LASIK almost three months ago. While I'm quite pleased with the result and do have ''20/20'' in both eyes, one is quite a bit sharper than the other. But I really only notice it when reading or at the computer. My doctor also told me at the last visit that I do have a slight stigmatism in the less sharp eye. I still feel like they're changing ever so slightly so time will tell. I would do it again in a heartbeat, even though it's not as perfect as when I had contacts. Feel free to email with other questions...Shannon

the surgeon i work for (Mark Mandel, MD) has done over 22,000 procedures and generally speaking there does not seem to be a distinction in the overall results when comparing soft lens wearers to gas perm lens wearers. what is really crucial is that you have the hard/RGP lenses out long enough prior to your assessment and measurements so that he can make sure that your corneas are stable. we have seen patients that looked like good candidates initially; but then after months of lens-free eyes, the corneas turn out to be distorted and the patient is no longer a good candidate. now we are doing the ''custom'' or wavefront-guided laser procedure that is proving to be even better than conventional LASIK. 20/20

April 2003

I am going to get laser eye surgery and I am shopping for a doctor. I saw the recommendations posted to the web site, but I didn't see anyone mention cost. What are the going rates? Can anyone comment on Dr. Stephen Turner? Helena

I am responding to the post regarding Laser Eye Surgery and Dr. Gary Kawesh in San Jose. I had lasik done by Dr. Kawesh and it was fabulous. My vision was about 20/550. I wore glasses all my life and am happy to say that my vision is now 20/15! The surgery only took about 5 minutes per eye, but it was a bit unnerving. Recovery was also very easy for me. I had the procedure about two years ago and paid $1800 per eye. I'm guessing the price has probably gone down since then. My sister in law went to Dr. Bindi in the same office and had excellent results also. Good luck! colleen

please do not price-shop when it comes to your eyes. you get what you pay for. the best surgeons charge from $3900-$5000. i hear that dr. turner is good. post-lasik success

April 2003

I'm looking in to Lasik surgery and have narrowed it to 2 doctors:
Dr. Mark Mandel - Hayward
Dr. Gary Kawesch - San Jose

Has anyone heard of these doctors or have any experiences with them? thanks for your input !! jart

both surgeons have lots of experience and are highly skilled. but most of the people i know (including myself) had surgery done by dr. mandel. he is pretty conservative and doesn't do surgery on people when it would be risky. his staff are highly trained and extremely nice. the whole surgical experience is quite pleasant (given the circumstances). good luck! happy patient

If you saw the Express on Wed, April 23, Dr. Kawesch is specifically recommended against in the article about bad Lasik experiences. While most people's experiences are not negative, I would definitely avoid the guy if I were going through this procedure. sign me 4 eyes

December 2002

I am looking into Laser Eye surgery for my 20 year old daughter. Anybody with experience or advice they'd like to share would be very helpful. merci

I am one of the many people who spent most of life severely myopic until I had Lasik surgery three years ago. I have been extremely happy with the results, although I am disappointed that my 20-20 vision has already slipped to 20- 40, which is the minimum the DMV allows. It's not a cure- all. A good doctor will prepare your daughter for the possibility that she will needs glasses for driving and reading in a few years.

I would advise you to avoid the big Eye Centers. Though I was happy with the results of my Lasik, I was distressed by the unprofessional behavior he and his team demonstrated while I was under the laser - I realized that his centers were the McLasiks people warn about, and wished I had spent more time shopping around. Krysten

October 2002

Has anyone had laser eye surgery at the UC Optometry School? I checked the website and there is only one mention of it, without a recommendation. It certainly is convenient, and if you join the alumni association you can get a discount, so I am interested in finding out what experiences people have had with the doctors there. robbie

I had the lasik surgery done at the Pacific Laser Eye Center at UC Berkeley and it was the best thing I've ever spent my money on. They have the most up-to-date equipment and the healing time was very quick. My surgery was done by Andrew Sorenson and he was absolutely wonderful! Waking up the first time and being able to see the alarm clock without glasses was amazing. Em

Didn't do it at UCB, but just had a great experience at the Stanford Eye Laser Center in May, in case you are interested in other area options. I was totally terrified to do this -- had 20/950 and 20/800 eyes, which put me in a very special group. I've had about 10 friends go to Dr. Manchee at Stanford, all with great results, so I decided to make the trek.

Didn't love him at the informational meeting, but he was absolutely superb during surgery, and with followup (he tracks you for a year). I am now at 20/20, with no problems with night vision. Recovery was a snap -- the next day I drove to SF at night by myself. Eyesight didn't settle for a month or so, but was fully functional the whole time.

Chose Dr. Manchee as he has done 19,000 Lasik surgeries, and helped to invent the technique. He has also turned away several people I know who were not good candidates. He does all the surgery there personally.( Wasn't too bad going the distance. I needed someone to drive me the day of surgery, and the day after until they took off the shields.

Couldn't be happier with the result!! nancy

I just had the surgery. I would do it again in a flash, it was so easy, painless, quick, and yielded such incredible results. I picked the UC Center because I'm staff and had the discount, my doc [Jacobsen] was very reassuring and extremely methodical in his assessment, and I have always felt like they have one of the best eyecare places around. I really think the super-careful assessment was a key; cheaper places won't necessarily see you 6 times pre-surgery to make sure that they get the best refraction numbers. I have some family history issues with my eyes - they double and triple-checked that stuff to make sure it wasn't going to be a problem. The surgeons have both done thousands of these, and they videotape each one for documentation purposes, but also so they can go over anything in post-surgery discussion. It's pretty comforting. The process was painless - and I'm the biggest eye wuss in the world - the only discomfort [and that's all it was] was when they plop in the eye speculum. Cool, huh? Try and get someone to come with a camera. The healing was fast and easy. Really easy. I'd totally do it again, and I'd pick that place every time. -Jean

I've not had laser eye surgery at Cal, but have gone to see the docs and student docs in the Low Vision Clinic. I can't say enough good things about them. They are thorough, informative, supportive, up-to-date, easy going and just plain the best help I can find for my vision. I even want to take my daughter to them for her first eye check. Jen Hall

June 2002

There are a lot of postings on the web site about laser eye surgery, but this is a field that has been developing rapidly and I'd like to hear from people who have had it done in the past year. I have a relative who is very nearsighted who had the procedure done a couple of years ago and is very happy with it. Recently, in the course of an eye exam, the consulting doc at the UC Optometry School asked if I had considered it, and recommended it highly based on his own experience. I also know someone who had some complications, though I think it all worked out well in the end. Can anyone who had this surgery in the early days tell me how your eyes are doing now? If you have had it done recently, what was your experience? Would you recommend your doctor and facility?

I just had the surgery done at the end of March and I love it!!!! No more glasses or contact lenses. I was nearsited with -4.25 in each eye. I now have 20/20 in both eyes. There was no pain involved at all, and I could see as soon as they were done with the procedure. I went to the Lasik Eye Center in Walnut Creek. I would highly recommend them. If you want to discuss further, please feel free to call. 415-743-8436 or email me at Carole

My husband -- severely myopic and a wearer of thick glasses since age 6 -- had Lasik surgery done in April. He used Dr. Dan Goodman in SF -- a doctor who is very experienced (he had done about 8000 eyes), and as a consequence fairly expensive. Experience is important; apparently there is a learning curve and problems drop off dramatically after a doctor has done 5000 or so eyes. The doctor was conservative in his prognosis: about 80% chance of achieving 20-20 in the dominant eye on the first try, 75% in the non-dominant eye. My husband mulled the question for over a year, and finally decided to do it. The results were better than anyone could have predicted: a bit better than 20-20 in both eyes. He experienced some ''starburst'' effect in one eye at night (rays coming from light sources), but he said it was no worse than what he had with glasses or contacts, and it is going away. It really is a miracle. Leslie

i work for a surgeon (mark mandel) who performs lots of laser eye surgeries (lasik). he did my surgery 3 years ago and i am still doing great. i haven't had to wear glasses or contacts since then. my eyes feel wonderful and free! dmamann
i have daily contact with patients who are considering the procedure as well as those who have already had it. dmamann
make sure you go to a reputable surgeon who is well-known in the medical community. make sure you have a complete exam to ensure you are a good candidate. you should have your pupils measured, along with corneal thickness and mapping. dmamann
the surgery is not 100% guaranteed, but it is extremely successful. your surgeon should be competent enough to handle any possible complication that might occur. there are some low-price laser surgeons that you should be very careful with. don't base your decision on the price. suzie

My husband and I both used Lasix Plus which is out on Willow Pass Rd. in Concord and were very happy with their service. I had my eyes corrected last October. The recovery time was quick. I was about 20/400 in one eye and about 20/600 in the other eye with astigmatisms. I used their older machine (recommended for my corneal thickness and correction). I am now 20/25 in both eyes! For the first time since 5th grade, I don't need thick glasses or contact lenses. Kathryn

Hi, I had laser surgery 3 years ago. Actually I had it when I was pregnant, which made things more complicated because the eyesight changes during pregnancy. I was EXTREMELY nearsighted, - 10.5 on one eye and -11.5 on the right. That's practically blind. Now I see without glasses and have no dicomfort. I went to the office of Dr Ellis, in El Cerrito. He is not only a surgeon but an engineer as well, and understands the mechanics of the laser machine (which of course has to be in perfect conditions). He pioneered eye surgery many years ago and even travelled to Russia where the technique was first invented. The doctor who performed my surgery is Dr. Sejadi. He has lots of experience too, and is less busy than Dr. Ellis, so I knew he would give my case extra attention. My left eye had 1 operation and is fine. It is now -1 and I rely on it to read without glasses (being over 40, I would have had to get reading glasses for far-sighted people!). The right eye had to have 2 operations, and now is +0.5 (slighty far sighted). I rely on it when I drive. That eye had minor problems for a year. It had dryness, and then had continuous watering. both problems went away after 2 months of drops. It has been fine for the last 2 years. What they don't tell you is that if you are very short sighted, your sight keeps changing for almost a year. Also it is not an exact science. I ended up with -1 and +0.5, not with the 0 I expected. dmamann
Dr. Sejari, who also used to be a retina specialist, discovered I had developed a hole in the retina (common in very near sighted people) and took the time to check on it 2 times and refer me to a retina specialist (they are just monitoring it). I was very happy that he cared about the retina too, which is much more serious, but not profitable for a physician. I have to say though that before the surgery I did not have a hole in the retina. All doctors swear that holes in the retina are not caused by the laser surgery on the cornea, but sometimes I wonder. dmamann
Would I do it again? YES! I had so many eye scratches while sticking unsanitary pieces of plastic in my eyes (contact lenses), and so many headaches, and all that is over! Laura

This message is in response to the post that said that she had LASIK during her pregnancy by a Dr. Ellis. LASIK is contraindicated for pregnancy, and the FDA has not approved LASIK during pregnancy. The reasons are multitudinous: the hormonal changes that change the integrity of the cornea as well as the inherent correction in the eye, and that pregnant women could not possibly suffer taking an IV course of certain antibiotics (if an infection were to ensue) and/or hospitalization and/or surgery if a LASIK complication mandated as much. Any reputable LASIK doc will tell you as much. I was concerned that the post might encourage pregnant women to find an ophthalmologist to perform such a procedure anon

May 2000

I am considering Lasik laser eye surgery to correct nearsightedness & astigmatism, and would appreciate any advice, experience, etc., on this procedure. Thanks

Check out the Laser Eye Center at UCSF - 415/476-5021. Excellent docs (Dr. Richard Abbott is featured in the April 3 issue of People Mag), careful procedures, long experience; they wrote the protocols for doing these procedures safely. Wherever you go, ask how long they've been doing the procedure(s), whether they do both eyes at the same time (safer to do them separately), whether they re-use the scalpel blades on both eyes or on other patients (rare, but one local office was doing so with great abandon). Check the April 3 issue of People for more Q

Pacific Laser Eye Center is now at UC Berkeley in the Optometry Clinic at Minor Hall. You can call 642-2020 to ask for information.

I got Lasik done about a month and a half ago. I've wanted it done for years, and finally was at a place where I could afford it and felt safe doing it. Thanks be, it was successful. Needless to say, it makes a huge difference in your life. It's wonderful being able to move freely and go places without my glasses. I swim and exercise frequently and I can now see what's happening around me. It's also affected my body language and self image -- all positively. I suffer from a bit of eye dryness, and decreased night vision, but they are continually getting better.

I actually travelled to Canada to have it done, which some people see as risky because if there is a problem you have to go back there to have it dealt with. But, it's much, much cheaper there, and I found a clinic that I trusted, and had been recommended from a trustworthy acquaintance / source of medical advice.

One warning, They tell you that you can go back to work in a few days, with me it took about a week and a half, but then again, Im a heavy computer user at work, and I mean -- hey, it's surgeory on your eyes!

So, take it seriously, but also know that it can work out fantastically. Do some research on the internet, but know in advance that most of the stuff on it is either advertisement or scary stories from people who had it botched. Good Luck

p.s. on Lasik, there are also herbs recommended Pau d'Arco - help in recovery from any surgery. Bilberry, eyebright, Turmeric, pineapple enzyme (bromelain), ascorbate, homeopathic aconite (200 or above), and get it done on a waxing moon.

9/00 randice
I had laser vision surgery a couple months ago at LasikVision in the city (California & Battery). I now have 20/20 vision (& no halos around lights at night either). I had worn glasses or needed contacts since I was nine, had astigmatism, and couldn't see clearly more than 6-8 inches in front of me. They are a company from Canada, which just recently opened an office in SF. I think their current price is $1000 per eye. I know 2 other people who also had it successfully done there.

2/00 elaine
I'm thinking of having LASIK surgery done on my eyes by Dr. Severin on Solano in Albany. I have a -10.0 correction in each eye. Does anyone have any experience with Dr. Severin specifically, or with LASIK surgery on eyes with severe myopia? I've done a lot of reading about the surgery in general, and have talked to several very happy folks who've had the surgery, but never anyone with my level of correction, which is a little trickier. Any comments would be welcomed at elainerichlie at, or on this site. Thanks!

Both my brother and sister have had lasik (and I'm just waiting for my post-breastfeeding hormones to settle before I do). My sister's eyes were in the -13 to -14 range; she was uncorrectable with contacts (and glasses). She's been very happy with the lasik. Although it appears to have corrected her vision only to 20/30 or 20/40, she sees better than she did with lenses, and her night vision is actually better than it's ever been.

Merry 11/99
Ask about the eye surgeons' experience with laser. The more experience, the better the results. Also ask if they do the eyes separately (the safer, more conservative approach) or if they do both eyes at the same time. Suggest you try Dr. Steve McLeod, Dr. David Hwang, Dr. Rich Abbott or Dr. John Stanley at UCSF Vision Correction Center at 415/476-5021. It's a university-based program where the surgeons have have conducted FDA-monitored clinical trials, puublished articles and texts, lectured internationally, and trained over 170 physicians in laser vision correction techniques. At UCSF, you'll be asked to attend an introductory session where a surgeon will answer any questions and talk about the (relatively small) possibility of side-effects (such as halo vision). I haven't had laser surgery myself, yet. But I've interviewed all of the surgeons at UCSF and find them quite impressive.

Channel 2 recently did a story on laser eye surgery. You can find their story at I've thought of having the surgery myself, but since I can wear contacts easily, I've been told I should wait until there is even more evidence of the safety of the surgery. I do know two people who had the surgery because they had horrible eyesight and could no longer wear their contacts. Both have nearly 20/20 vision and have no side effects. Good luck!

The Time magazine recently put out a cover story on this technology. It gave the views (pardon the pun) of patients who had both successful surgeries and unsuccessful. Worth tracking down from your library and reading - it made me think twice about the procedure.

From: jeanne (11/98)

Has anyone had laser surgery for farsightedness or astigmatism? Or does anyone have a referral or feedback about a doctor they have liked that has performed this form of Lasiks. I know that Lasiks has been around a while for nearsightedness but it seems like it has only been FDA approved for six months for people who are farsighted or have astigmatism. I was not all that impressed with the doctor I met or the published success rate. Any feedback would be appreciated. Jeanne

From: Jonathan (11/98)

I am nearsighted with a bit of astigmatism. I am sick to death of glasses and contacts so decided to look into PRK and LASIK. I went to LCA-Vision center in Concord. The office was very kind and professional. They performed a series of tests to determine my compatibility with their procedures (e.g. sure it can be done Mr. Gardner) and one assistant and two doctor's talked to me at length about the procedure. They even offered to allow me to sit in on some procedures and operate the laser. . just kidding. . but seriously sit in and actually watch the procedures being performed, but I didn't have the time. While I was there, two women came in (separately) and both had LASIK the day before. They were fine. One said her eyes initially felt itchy, like some dust had gotten in them, but that stopped the next day. Both said they were tired after the procedure and went to rest, but neither complained of moderate or worse pain (at least in my presence). So, why didn't I do it? $5,000 for two eyes, I have too much debt already, and insurance won't cover it. Anyhow the Concord office phone number is 925-688-0400, 1390 Willow Pass Rd Suite 540, very close to Sun Valley Mall and Concord BART.

From: Joyce (12/98)

I had the surgery for nearsightedness and pretty bad astigmatism. Usually your eye doctor refers you to a surgeon--I used Sanford Severin on Solano. I couldn't wear my contacts anymore because of problems with my corneas and didn't like wearing glasses. My optometrist had had it done herself and could give me first hand information (Albany-Berkeley Optometry on Solano). My eyes are now 20-20 in one eye and 20-30 in the other. My options are to have an enhancement to being that eye to 20-20 (included in the cost) or to have monovision in which one eye sees far and the other will allow me to read better close-up without glasses as I get older. I have a year to decide.

You should also be aware that farsightedness in young eyes is not the same thing as presbyopia--which is the form of farsightedness we get with old eyes (and buy those Dr. Dean Edell glasses at Longs Drugs). I understand that Lasik cannot correct that. The cost was $4,200 for both eyes, and this includes complete follow up care by my optometrist for one year.

From: Cecilia (12/98)

To the person considering laser eye surgery: there is a very interesting site with some detailed technical information on this topic at

I'm nearsighted and I've been interested in this operation ever since I started hearing about it. It's hard to get unbiased technical information on this subject because the experts (eye surgeons) have a vested interest in it... I asked my eye doctor about his opinion on laser eye surgery (he doesn't perform it) and his response was telling: he didn't know any refractive surgeons who had the procedure done on themselves! He suggested waiting until more long-term studies were done.