Seeking an Optometrist or Optician

Parent Q&A

Eye Exam Dr Recommendation Needed Jul 7, 2020 (7 responses below)
Looking for Eye Doctor May 23, 2017 (5 responses below)
Optometrist that takes EyeMed- recent recommendations Apr 14, 2017 (0 responses below)
  • Eye Exam Dr Recommendation Needed

    (7 replies)

    Mid-40's gal needs a new Rx for her glasses. Seeking a Dr who has a lot of experience with Progressives and Computer glasses. To complicate things, I'm a professional photographer, so my needs are slightly different than the average patient, and  the Rx needs to be very accurate. Went to UC Berkeley a few years ago, but the exam/Rx wasn't quite what I needed. Then tried Kaiser, but had a really poor experience there (apparently their optical dept isn't known for being great). I have several pairs of glasses I already like...just need an exam and the lenses put in. Any recommendations to a talented Dr much appreciated. Open to Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, SF, Walnut Creek, San Leandro, or Marin.

    I recommend the Sorensons (Sorensen?) in Berkeley. They are very experienced. My daughter and I go there.

    I really like Oakland Vision Center. The doctors are great and use the latest technologies. My husband and I both got our eye exams and glasses from them.


    I highly recommend Michael Kiyomoto, OD (2035 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702, 510-843-0721). He is very thorough, kind, and professional.

    Best regards,


  • Looking for Eye Doctor

    (5 replies)

    Can someone recommend a very good ophthalmologist  in the East Bay, preferably Berkeley or Albany?  I no longer want to the UCB School of Optometry and have 2 to 3 hour appointments.  I am middle aged  and have bifocals.


    RE: Looking for Eye Doctor ()

    I recently needed new glasses and was unhappy with the ophthalmology department at Kaiser.  I went to Moderne Eye on College avenue and saw Dr. Susan Lin.  Both my parents had glaucoma and my mom has macular degeneration and I wanted not just a new prescription but someone to really check out my eyes for any potential issues.  Dr. Lin was everything I want in an eye doctor.  She was warm and thorough and I cannot recommend her strongly enough.  Good luck!

    RE: Looking for Eye Doctor ()

    Highly recommend Dr. Dacanay at Bellevue Eye Center, he's extremely knowledgeable and also cute as a button! I was literally going blind because of this weird, weird thing where my corneas were floating away from my ... um ... like they were constantly getting detached?? It was horrifying and he stuck with it until we beat it together. Really cannot recommend him highly enough.

    RE: Looking for Eye Doctor ()

    Try Solano Eye Care on Solano just east of Tacoma.  I've been going there for years [almost since they opened shop back in the 80s], and they're just great.  I prefer Dr. Woodring, but they're all excellent. 

  • I can't seem to find anything more recent than 2012 on this site. Wondering if someone can recommend a good optometrist in Berkeley or Oakland that takes EyeMed Insurance. I went to Dr. Litwin  (Berkeley Opthamology) for years, but now my work has switched to EyeMed and that office doesn't take this insurance. Also, I'd appreciate a recommendation of an office that is good at contact lens fitting. After Dr. Litwin left, they had me switch the type of contacts I use and they have never fit quite right -- even after I went back, they kind of told me that I just need to get used to them, but it's been over a year and my right contact lens still rarely is fully in focus. A recommendation for one that you've used, trusted, and takes the time to fit your lenses well would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Optometrists & Opticians for Kids Optometrists & Opticians for Adults Related pages

Optometrists & Opticians for Kids: 2008 - 2012 Reviews

Eye doctor for family

April 2012

Hi - my 5 year old boy was told by his doctor his eyes were fine, but his school nurse said they were not. We need to get a second opinion and I need to have my eyes checked too. We have VSP vision care. If anyone can recommend a good person we can both see in Berkeley or Albany, please let me know. (I figure if we both go together to get our eyes checked, it won't be as scary for him) mom and 5 year old

For your 5 year old, I would recommend the Infant/Toddler/Child clinic at UC Berkeley School of Optometry. They can see you too, obviously. However, you indicate that you are concerned your child might be scared. The ITC clinic at UC is not scary in the least. The kids get to watch movies during their eye exam even. There are none of the traditional large pieces of equipment in the room-- in fact, it looks more like a play room. And, the docs there are top notch. It is a teaching facility, so there may be a student present. However, unlike the other clinics at the school, the pediatric optometrist is always present in the room. AND, they have Sat and Sunday appointments available! I take my kids there.

My son and I go to the Cal Optometry Clinic up on campus for our eye exams. My older son had Ambliopia (Lazy Eye) when he was in kindergarten. They did an amazingly thorough exam in the ''childrens optometry clinic'' which is TOTALLY designed to be fun and not scarey for kids.

It's not that expensive, though I don't remember the cost. I go there for my yearly eye exams. I feel they are very thorough and careful. I don't know is they accept insurance, but the quality is the best, I think. anon

Our entire family sees Dr. Tracy Ashlock at Albany-Berkeley Optometry on Solano Ave. She's great with children (she is a mom of 2 young boys herself) - very thorough, intelligent and kind. We used to go to UCB Optometry school (where Dr. Ashlock trained) but much prefer her private office. And they take VSP! Dr. Ashlock fan

We've had very good experiences with the UC Vision Clinic, and they take VSP. The only downside is that the grad students are slower than more experienced eye doctors. On the other hand if anything questionable comes up one of the professors checks to see what is going on with the patient's eyes. For example there's some kind of irregularity in my eye, and they've been keeping track of it for several years. Also, in terms of your son, I wonder since you are getting different reports on whether he needs his vision checked if the problem isn't some kind of binocular vision problem, rather than a visual acuity problem. That's what my daughter had, and the vision clinic was very helpful in teaching her to use her eyes together, and in learning to move her focus from far to near.

Eye Doctor for Toddlers

Jan 2011

I'm looking for a good optometrist for my two-year-old daughters -- just a regular check-up/screening at this point. Thanks! Lori

The absolute best place would be at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry. They have an Infant Toddler department that does nothing but examine children under the age of 6. The room is very kid friendly, they watch movies while much of the testing is done. They have appointments on Saturdays AND Sundays, as well as Mondays and Tuesdays. All toddlers are seen by the very experienced faculty members, although there are often student doctors in the room who may do some of the more simple testing. My kids loved being examined there. Their appointment line is 510-642-2020 highly recommend

I don't believe you will find any better Infant/Toddler optometrists than at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, in the Infant/Toddler clinic. If your child does turn out to have vision issues, there is also the Binocular Vision Clinic, which deals with children's reading/perceptual skills. Barbara

we took our toddler last year to Dr. Rahul Keswani of West County Optometry in el cerrito. he's also our optometrist. our toddler did quite well with him, and the office is super-professional and always prompt, with later closing hours on some days and saturday appts. 11780-B San Pablo Ave El Cerrito, CA 94530 510-234-1730 kim

Optometrist for Children

Aug 2009

My daughter is entering 2nd grade and since both her dad and I started wearing glasses at an early age, we'd like to stay on top of her vision check ups. My daughter saw a female optometrist at Kensington Optometry a couple of years ago and had a great time as my daughter thought she was playing games the whole time, all the while these games were really checking her vision. And when we left the office, she said she wanted to be an eye doctor when she grew up! Sadly this doctor moved away from the area so our hunt is on for a new one. Can you recommend an optometrist who is great with kids? I really prefer the El Cerrito/Albany/Berkeley area. Thank you!! Four Eyes Forever

I would recommend UC Berkeley highly. Their pediatric Optometrists only see kids--which is very unique. No private practice optometrists do that. One word of warning, though--at a 2nd grade level, most optometrists would not give as ''kid oriented'' of an exam as you experienced at the previous doc's office. At UC, those exams are given to kids till about 6 years of age. Then, the kids can do more advanced tests, so some of the more game like ones are substituted. parent and optometrist

I highly recommend Dr. Ruth Chen @ the Solano EyeCare. She is great with kids. Mom with kid in glasses

Try the UC Optometry school at Minor Hall. They have a kids clinic run by Dr. Sarah Fisher that is outstanding. Totally kid-centered, full of toys, videos to watch, games, etc. that make it so your kid doesn't really notice the exam. Dr. Fisher usually has an optometry student with her to co-administer the exam (or the student does it first, then your kid is re-examined by Dr. Fisher to check their work). The result is a very thorough exam. You can call 510-642-2020 to make an appointment. They take VSP and (I think) Medicaid and I think one day a week they will take Kaiser patients. Dr. Fisher also does the community vision screening and goes to preschools to do vision checks. She's great!!! Kristin

Not in your preferred geographical area, but Dr. Ursula Moonsamy at Eye Care on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland was great with my daughter. As you described with your previous optometrist, she made the exam seem like a game. She is vey kind and approachable. I found her through Yelp, where she has a number of very positive reiviews. My daughter keeps asking when she can go back. Carrie

Our pediatrician recommended the Optometrists at Rockridge Optometry on College. Our kids (ages 3 and 5) really enjoyed their appointments (they got to go in together) and can hardly wait to go back. We went about 3 months ago, and it still comes up in conversation now and again. Nikki

I just took our 7 year old in to see Dr. Jeffrey Lewis in Orinda at Orinda Optometrics Vision Center because he tested 20/40 at his well child visit. He also has a small convergence problem diagnosed last year that he occasionally wears glasses for. My husband and I both see Dr. Lewis ourselves and find him and his staff to be very kind and thorough, so we figured our son would have a good experience as well. He answered ALL of my child's questions (in addition to his younger brother's) and let them both touch, hold and spin anything they were curious about. He was even brave enough to reverse roles and let them both examine his pupils w/ his light instrument. My son left feeling relieved and he even said that it was fun. He mentioned that he felt rushed w/ his previous optometrist in Walnut Creek, whom I took him too see because she is well known for her work w/ children. Here is his contact info: 925-254-5914 or ~D

Optometrists & Opticians for Kids: 2004 - 2007 Reviews

Kid-Friendly Optometrist for Contact Lenses

Sept 2006

''Advice'' recently had a discussion on contact lenses for kids. Does anyone have a recommendation for an optometrist who does well with this -- for, say, an 11-year- old? We had a bad experience with our kid in one of the non-pediatric specialty clinics at UC (their pedi clinic is fine) and don't want to go back there. Letitia

My daughter got contacts when she was 12 at Solano Eyecare (Woodring & Chen) at 1621 Solano. They're nice (I've been going there myself for years), and I thought they did a very good job introducing contacts to someone who was a little bit squeamish about sticking her finger in her eye. Give them a try.

Eyecare in Oakland. Ursula Moonsamy (OD) is excellent with kids. Tel: (510) 832-EYES (832-3937). I have been taking my kids to her and I have recommended many of my friends to her and they have all been happy. happy client

Optometrists & Opticians for Kids: 2003 & Earlier

Optometrist for child's lazy eye

September 2003

[See Advice about Lazy Eye for the original question and other recommendations.]

Dr. Benjamin Gaynor, phone(925)254-5914, in Orinda started treating me 38 years ago. I was three years old and I had a pretty strong correction with ''lazy eye''. We used to make weekly visits to do eye exercises and he would revise my corrections frequently. I belive I have strong healthy vision today because of the care and expertise of Dr. Gaynor. Now I take my two daughters to him for eye exams and I trust him immensely. He is worth the trip to Orinda, he's just of the freeway exit in downtown Orinda. After many years, he just recently selected an associate, because he must be nearing retirement. I actually feel sad that he will eventually retire someday, but I will have confidence in who he selected to step into his practice. And I don't imagine he will completley retire. Monet

i can reccommend a fabulous doctor called Dr Paul Odes who works via childrens hospital,, it is a eye clinic on claremont avenue and my son who is four years old just had the same procedure i can also if interested reccommend good eye glasses,, Harry Potter at lens crafters in Hayward Mall. Aisha

Hi. I'd like to suggest my optometrist, Dr. Larry Sarver. The name of his office is Rockridge Optometry. They are on College Avenue. Here is the phone number 655-3797. I've been going there for almost 8 years and am quite pleased with Dr. Larry and the staff. Dr. Larry is a great doctor. He works with the UCSF school of optometry. He's very up to date on all things eye related. The only drawback about his place is the parking. Sometimes it takes a while to find a place to park since there is no street parking. If he can't help you, he will direct you to someone that would be a better match for you. He also has a fair amount of children that he sees, and they seem to be pretty happy with him as well. beth

Optometrist for children

December 1999

we highly recommend dr. jane hafen in downtown oakland near lake merrit. both my partner and i have gone to her for a long time and she just recently checked our 1.5 year old's eyes. she just checked his eyes for placement, depth perception and such and wouldn't want to see him again for a number of years. she has a child of her own and is great with children (or was with ours both when checking his eyes and when entertaining/distracting him when i was getting mine checked. ) although she is not a children's optometrist per say, she has a lot of experience with children. there's also a basket of toys in the waiting room, though we've never had to wait for long. dr jane hafen: 763-2020 Susan

Dr. P. Harold Woodring at 1621 Solano Ave in Berkeley (526-3937) has seen my young child (now 5) 3 times and is wonderful with kids (having two himself). He also teaches at the school of optometry at UCB so has the latest information and resources. Nori


My 10-year-old is reporting that things look blurry, so I'd like to get his eyes examined. My optometrist doesn't strike me as particularly kid-friendly, and I've never seen a child in his office; does anyone have a recommendation of a Berkeley-area optometrist who's good with kids? Thanks. Jane

Our daughter, who just turned seven, is getting her first pair of glasses this week, and we took her to Dr. Woodring, an optometrist on Solano Avenue. We've been really happy with the optometric care he has given our family, including our kids, since they were about two (now seven and almost eleven). He has liberal hours, takes Vision Service Plan, and is just plain thorough, caring, and thoughtful.

Hope this helps. BTW, Kate is very excited about her glasses, and enjoyed the process of picking out frames. We also opted to get sunglass clip-ons for her, which made her feel pretty grown up. Melissa

Regarding kids' eye appointments and glasses - Your very own UC Berkeley Optometry Clinic has Infant-Toddler (ages birth through 6) and Pediatric (6 and older) exams and lots of choices in children's eyewear. We take VSP and I believe our prices are in line with, and on the low side of, other choices available in the area. We are open to the public - Monday through Saturday and can be reached at 642-2020. We also have specialty clinics in Visual and Perceptual Skills and Vision Training (we see lots of kids there). There is an Infant-child clinic for children from 6 months old to 6 years old. Barbara

You can get glasses for kids at the UC Berkeley Optometry School Clinic in Minor Hall. They have a very nice, new eyewear center, the student clinicians are usually very good, and they accept the Vision Service Plan. Call 642-2020. Karin

For an optometrist in the area who is good with children, I would recommend Dr. Ogawa in the practice of Drs. Chun, Fujikawa, and Ogawa. They are located on Shattuck, right below Channing. I've been going there for over ten years myself, and have seen all three doctors, and have been very pleased with the care and attention that I've received from the doctors and the office staff over the years. Since both my husband and I started wearing glasses at a young age, I began taking my oldest son for annual checkups when he turned 8. Dr. Ogawa has been wonderful with him from the beginning - quite friendly, putting him at ease, and patient. Although the office does not bill itself as catering to children, they have certainly welcomed my son and made him feel comfortable. They take VSP and are close to campus - two additional pluses in my book. Eileen

Although he's not in Berkeley, I *highly* recommend Dr. Larry Jebrock, in Novato. He specializes in working with children's vision problems, and can often diagnose a problem that might go beyond needing glasses.

I've been going to him for years and it's worth the half hour drive. There is a lot of evidence that nearsightedness can be made worse by the indiscriminate prescribing of stronger and stronger glasses. If only my parents hadn't been so eager to get me glasses at a very early age, my eyes might have been as good as theirs! :-) His address and phone number:

Dr. Larry Jebrock
1702 Novato Blvd.
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 897-9691

To the person looking for an optometrist for their child -- Dr. Scott Yokoi, 5321 College Ave, Oakland (near Broadway) 655-3797, works especially with kids; he is wonderful; he and his partners the Sarvers, all graduated from UCB School of Optometry and they are excellent optometrists and great people. Katy

Where to buy kids glasses. I've bought glasses for my daughter and myself at the School of Optometry here on campus. I don't know if their prices are reasonable, but they do use Vision Care and have a large selection. Barbara

The U.C. Berkeley Optometric Eye Center offers special clinics on campus for children and babies, using age-appropriate methods and manners. I have taken my kids there as babies and as elementary-age children, and have found them very kid-friendy. I like them for my own exams because the clinic is part of the U.C. Optometry degree program, so they give extra-thorough exams, and they answer my questions freely.

The Optometric Eye Center has two physical locations: up the hill in Minor Hall, and down the hill in Tang Center. I know they see kids in Minor Hall, but I don't know about Tang Center. The phone number in Minor Hall is 642-2020. Beverly (Jan. 1998)

Optometrists & Opticians for Adults: 2008 - 2012 Reviews

Un-rushed eye exam?

April 2012

I wonder if anyone can point me towards a place to get a new glasses prescription where the exam doesn't involve having two nearly identical images flashed in front of me over and over in quick succession and between which I am supposed to choose in an instant while the eye-tester shifts around impatiently. I have no insurance and my prescription is ten years old or more. I do need to breathe and look carefully, since whichever of the pair of images I choose is what I will be looking through. I recently took a natural vision workshop, and I was interested that every participant expressed bad feelings about this process. Perhaps someone here can direct me towards someone affordable who does the testing in a less, um, challenging way: near campus, North or downtown Oakland, thank you. Seeking a Slow Prescription

I suggest you try the Berkeley Optometry Center (on campus). I've never found them to be impatient, and they have been willing to let me look at the two images as often as I wished (I often do need to look at the two images more than once, and this has never been a problem). I'm guessing that if you just ask them to show the two images more slowly, they'd be happy to do that. They also do a very careful and thorough exam. Karen

I know what you mean. In the past I've gotten a prescription that was uncomfortably strong, I think because I was trying so hard to see a difference between A and B, but the difference was negligible. The problem is, once you say that you see a difference, you go up to the next level, which may be less comfortable than the previous one. I've learned to say ''I don't really see a difference'' and/or ''Could I see those two again?'' This has worked out really well and I have not had the problem again of too-strong glasses.

I recommend going to the UC Berkeley Optometry Center. They will take as long as you want, and they do not mind repeating the comparisons as many times as you need. You will not feel rushed. There is also always a review of the results afterwards by a supervising optometrist, so you get two opinions. And if you are not happy with your new prescription, just ask for a re-do. I think UC Optometry is the best. A few years ago I changed to a popular private optometrist for a while because I thought the UC exam was taking too long. After being talked into a pair of glasses I didn't need and rarely used, that had the same prescription I got from UC, I went back to UC. a mom

Berkeley area Optomotrist

Sept 2011

The archives are old and Yelp does not highly recommend anyone! I just need a routine exam and glasses. Between North Oakland and El Cerrito would be best. Thanks for your insight.

I would highly recommend West County Optometry. They are in El Cerrito, on San Pablo Ave., near Home Depot. All their staff are professional, the assistants have plaques up, one has been there 40 years, and the other 25! The optometrists are up to date and give advice that doesn't feel related to their pocketbook. fella glasses wearer

Teresa Goldberg at Albany-Berkeley Optometry (Solano Ave.)! I've been a patient for 15 ? years. Wouldn't see anyone else. -M

Eye doctor for anxious patient

July 2011

I wear glasses on a daily basis and it's time for me to get my eyes checked again. Unfortunately, I seem to have a lot of unexplained anxiety when it comes to the eye doctor and have had panic attacks when having my eyes checked no matter how calm I am going into the exam. It's such a problem, that I've successfully talked my way out of Glaucoma tests for the past several years and have just gotten updated prescriptions. But I'm getting older and I know I'll need more tests and drops and dilations in the future to keep my eyes healthy. I'm looking for a gentle and kind ophthalmologist or optometrist who will be sensitive to my situation. Also, is there anyone who offers the no drop/no puff Glaucoma exam? If not, where can I go for the air puff instead of the drops? Thanks! Eye doc phobic

I highly recommend Philip Schletter OD 1799 E 4th St Berkeley, CA 94710 (510) 559-8181

He has the latest diagnostic tools with the ''touch'' glaucoma test instead of a puff and a machine that looks at the retinas without dilation. I have a complicated prescription at -7 diopters with astigmatism and prism. He is always patient with me. His wife Dellia has the most amazing eyeglasses collection you will see. Trust her: The first or second pair will be perfect. Just let her know your price range. They're open on weekends but closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Ann

UC Optometry Clinic or Other Low Cost Options

Nov 2010

Wondering if anyone could tell me what one can expect to pay for a basic eye exam at the UC Optometry Clinic (for someone not a student or affiliated with UC) or at Costco or some other affordable place? My sore and poor eyes thank you!

The Tang Eye Center is great! I am also not a part of the University but I use them for my eye care. I paid $80 for a very thorough exam and $70 per follow- up. clear eyed

UC Berkeley costs about $90--but the exam is VERY thorough. Costco costs about $50, but that doesn't include a dilation (health exam) of the eyes. That is about $25 extra. (and that's assuming you aren't wearing contact lenses--those services are extra in both locations) UC Berkeley will do just a refraction (eye glasses prescription) for $25. So, the question is--how well do you want to take care of your eyes? If you haven't had an exam in a long time, I would recommend going to UC to make sure everything is OK. If you just had an exam within the last year or two, and all was well, and you aren't at higher risk for eye disease, then I'd either get a refraction only at UC or a basic exam at Costco. anon

Best Cheapest Eye Exam

Sept 2010

I haven't been to the eye doctor in a couple of years and really need to get my prescription checked, get new glasses, and contacts. I don't have any insurance that covers eye exams and I don't have a few hundred dollars to spare (I would qualify for Medi-cal but am reticent to apply). I've heard that Costco or Cal Optometry are good. Anyone have recommendations? Thanks trying to see clearly

I don't have a recommendation for the exam, but glasses can be purchased on the cheap from Zenni Optical, online. They sound too good to be true--glasses with lenses as low as $8- -but my husband has used them and they are acceptable. No issues with the prescription. The frames weren't great quality, but at the price you can buy many pairs for less than the cost of a local opician and still come out ahead. You need to get some specific sizing information from your eye doctor, so read the requirements before you have your appointment. Carrie

I have been using Fore Eyes, on Shattuck, for eight years. It runs $60-65.00. Go with the women optom, I forget her name. dana

Kensington Optometry, Dr. Cotteral?

May 2009

I am looking for a new optometrist for contact lenses due to insurance changes (I now have UHC). Does anyone have experience with Kensington Optometry and Dr. Russell Cotteral? I generally have no eye problems but have a family history of severe eye problems so I am looking for someone professional, knowledgeable, and thorough. Thanks! Shirley

My whole family (2 adults and 2 kids) has seen Dr. Cotteral for about five years. I'm very happy with his care. We go for annual exams, none of us wear glasses (except the adults depend on reading glasses now) and he is thorough and seems to be up with technology (computer photos, etc.) The practice is well-run, although if you don't have an early morning appt. chances are they will be running late, so bring a book. The office is stocked with a variety of glasses and the staff is knowledgeable about adjusting frames, etc. anon

I used Dr. Cotteral for several years after being referred there when my previous optometrist closed up shop. Dr. Cotteral is very conscientious about eye health and very thorough. My only bad experience there had to do with one of his staff and a frustrating piece of new equipment, a problem which hopefully has been ironed out since. I changed optometrists only because of geographic undesireablility when I changed jobs from Berkeley to Oakland. Carrie

Good Optometrist in Berkeley area?

Feb 2009

We recently moved to the Berkeley area and I'm looking for a good optometrist who is professional, experienced and has efficient access to variety of contact lenses. I have astigmatism in both eyes and wear fairly high powered disposable lenses (have worn contacts since my teens!). Looking for a friendly doc who's good at precise assessment and runs a decent front office. Any suggestions? Long-time lens wearer

I like Theresa Goldberg on Solano. She's very competent, nice.

We love Dr. Harlan Wong and his long-time office staff. He is very down to earth, easy to talk with, and they have a large selection of frames on-site. He can order any contacts you want, but he'll also write you a prescription and you can get them (probably cheaper and easier) online at one of the discount contact stores ( - etc.). In any case, his office is on Shattuck, just North of University. (510) 843-4030. Take good care of your eyes

I used to go to Berkeley Optometric Group on Shattuck. The main doc is a faculty at UCB. The office is efficient and I've liked all the doctors I went through there. Though that was ultimately my reason for leaving. Other than Doctor Chen (the main doc), everyone else leaves in a year or two as they're usually newly graduated.

I'm now seeing Dr Leslie Handmacher. I like her because she takes the time in general. Not that the other place didn't. But I don't feel rushed here. I have high astigmatism so I appreciate the time she takes to get the prescription just right. She feels kind of flighty and is easily distracted by going ons in the office. But I like my exams with her more.

Appointments take awhile though as they do a slow dilation. The front office desk was really bad a year ago. A lot of the bad reviews on Yelp says as much. But she has a new staff and the office is run much more efficiently now. anon

Optician for progresive lens glasses

April 2008

I am looking for a really good Optician to make Progressive lens glasses. I need a recommendation. Has anyone heard of Next on College in Rockridge? Thanks, Lynne

I got my progressives from Allen Greene (Precision Vistion), replacing a pair I got elsewhere that gave me headaches. It's not just the prescription that's important but careful measurement of where the center of the eye is. I think Allen's great. Phone is 548-2020 & he's right by the downtown Berkeley BART station (2120 Shattuck Avenue).

Cheap Optometry

Feb 2008

Has anyone had good luck with a cheap optometrist outfit: Lense Crafters, Site for Sore Eyes, Costco? Any particular locations you'd recommend? My glasses are four years old and starting to give me headaches. I don't have vision insurance and don't have a lot to pay out-of-pocket for new glasses. Mia

For free/cheap optometry, you can call your local Lion's Club branch and they sometimes sponsor eye exams/spectacles for low-income patients. Also, you can get a free screening at the Suitcase Clinic on Tuesday nights at the First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley and, if they decide you need a full exam, they will send you to the UC Berkeley School of Optometry for a free exam and free Medi-Cal-type frames. Call the UC Eye Center if you need more details 510-642-2020. Barbara

4 Eyes Optical or Site for Sore Eyes?

Jan 2008

Has anyone had experience with 4 Eyes Optical (2102 Shattuck, Berk.) or Site for Sore Eyes (Piedmont Ave.) Those are my choices for my vision coverage, which I want to cash in on before I change insurance. I'm imagining neither are great, but if you have experience, + or -, I'd love to know. Thanks, lisa

I can recommend 4Eyes on Shattuck- have had 2 pair single vision glasses made up there, and also I highly recommend the woman optometrist there if you are getting an exam. They are by far the cheapest (esp.if you are getting single vision lenses) and then with insurance (I have Spectera) it was way less out of pocket because they are so much cheaper (I checked a few other places on Shattuck and would have had to pay $100+ vs. $15 out pocket for similar frames.) I was very picky and took about 4 trips and several hours to get a great pair of glasses. But I don't necessarily recommend their very cheapest frames which are on sale like 2 for $100- although a few of them are actually cute they are very poorly made and the salespeople told me they would not hold up well. 4eyes gal

I had a great experience at 4 Eyes--the sales person was very helpful, patient, & honest in her advice. My glasses turned out great. The prices were also very reasonable. I would not hesitate to purchase glasses from 4 Eyes again. I know your insurance covers Site for Sore Eyes & 4 Eyes, but I'm also recommending Precision Vision up the street since I've also had such a great experience there too; and they take great care and are also very knowledgeable about lens.

On the other hand, Site for Sore Eyes was a nightmare. I use progressive lens & if they are not measured for vision correctly I get eyestrain headaches. Site for Sore Eyes kept insisting I just had to get used to wearing progressive lens (never mind I kept telling them those were my 3rd pair of progressive lens). They ''won'' because I finally gave up trying to get them to correct my lens, and I also had to quit wearing the expensive glasses because of the eyestrain. However, since you just need single lens, you don't need to be as careful. As for costs, Site for Sore Eyes is not inexpensive, and the service is pretty thin. I cannot recommend them. pat

Optometrists & Opticians for Adults: 2004 - 2007 Reviews

Eye doctor in EC, Albany or N. Berkeley

July 2007

I need to find a good eye doctor, as my eyesight has changed dramatically. I'm looking for one in El Cerrito, Albany or N. Berkeley. FYI, we don't have vision insurance. Thanks. pen

We love our eye doctor and his fees are not expensive. His name is Harlan Wong and he has an office on Shattuck, just north of University (near Triple Rock). Here is his contact information - 1928 Shattuck Ave - (510) 843-4030. Best of luck

Eye doctor in Financial District?

June 2007

My husband works in the Financial District and is looking for a new eye doctor. He called his doctor, only to find that the gentleman had retired. My husband would be happy with either a good optometrist or an ophthalmologist for his annual check-ups. jewelzie

Dr. Vince Penza - great eye doctor- used to go to him, but too far away now that we are in East Bay. I'm sure he's in the phone book.

Optician to help me choose frames

June 2007

Looking for recommendations for opticians (Berkeley/Oakland) who can help select eyeglass frames to fit my face. I've given up on my own judgment (and on the random students at the UCB Optometry School). I'd love to hear of stores or particular staff who can help. I can't afford to go really high-end (Focal Point?), and I have VSP. Cathy

My colleague's wife, Dr. Diana Yuen, comes highly recommended by the rest of my colleagues. Every time I complement someone on their cool glasses, they reply, ''Diana's office-- they picked out the frames for me''. In addition, Diana is super-nice (and I hear her colleague is too), a Cal-grad, local mom, etc. I haven't been yet because I thought I lived too far away and then I got pregnant, but from SO much great (unsolicited) feedback (and seeing the results) I plan on going once this baby comes. And our office is all on VSP so she takes that! From yelp (w/ 2 good reviews) Neighborhood: Downtown/Lake Merritt 3330 Grand Avenue(between Elwood Ave & Lake Park Ave) Oakland, CA 94610 (510) 832-3162 Shahana

See Need A Fine Optometrist with Lots of Frame Choices below. This was in the newsletter some months ago, perhaps December, and I saved it because it looked so useful.

Go to Phoenix Optical on College (a few doors down from Rockridge Kids). They have really great frames to pick from- low/medium to high end. They really won't sell you something that doesn't fit your face, or look great on you. I just got some great one of a kind eyeglasses there, I'm very happy with them, and I get lots of compliments on them. They have a wonderful selection, and specialize in retro, sparkly (Swavorski crysals) frames, but they also have some run of the mill stuff too. They take VSP. Have fun Phoenix fan

I strongly recommed Solano Eye Care for your eyeglasses. I have been a patient there for two years after trying UCB and other eye stores on Solano Ave and have been very impressed by the quality and variety of their products. Roger, who assists with the eyeglasses is particularly good at helping you pick the right frame for you, and will go totally out of his way to contact vendors if there is something you like that they don't have in the store. He is really good and will tell you if something does not fit your face or does not look good. The exam part is nothing special. Gladys

Optometrist -N. Berk, Albany, E.C.

Feb 2007

Looking for a good optometrist (i.e.: generally runs on time, personable, and most importantly, gives a great exam and lens prescription). Easy parking would be a nice bonus!

I highly recommend Harold Woodring at Solano Eye Care (1621 Solano, 526-3937). I've been going to him for several years, and I'd say that he meets all your requirements -- thorough exam, professional, personable, on-time, and parking is relatively easy. Sally

I absolutely ADORE my optometrist. I'm 33 and have been seeing him for over 17 years. My entire family sees him (parents, husband, brother), and we all agree: Dr. Anthony Revelli is a class act. He is extremely professional, courteous and personable, always on time, and knowledgable. He is located in downtown Oakland, which doesn't quite meet your criteria, but he's well worth the extra drive. He's on 19th and Broadway. There's a parking garage about a half block away and the office validates. It's also transit accessible. His number is (510) 832-5625. Beret

Need A Fine Optometrist with Lots of Frame Choices

Nov 2006

I need the recommendation of an outstanding optometrist in a store with lots of different types of frames. I have searched the archives and am familiar the optometrist who is recommended there. While she is great, I want to have an opportunity to select from many different types of frames. And, without breaking the bank. Thsnks so much! Four Eyes

At UC Berkeley's School of Optometry you can elect to see a doctor in ''Direct Patient Care,'' which means you are seen by an individual, practicing doctor of Optometry, with students observing, rather than the usual students performing the exam with the Dr. overseeing. This type of appointment is a little more expensive but if you have vision insurance, such as VSP, it will still only cost your deductible. You could also be seen by a Resident, a graduated OD with lots of experience who is working an extra year in a specialty to gain more knowledge. The Eyewear Center has a HUGE selection of frames and you can go there even if you get your prescription elsewhere. The clinic and Eyewear Center area open seven days a week. Barbara S

If you pick an optometrist by his or her range of eyeglass frames I guarantee you will be disappointed or will end up looking like just another boring old soccer mom (or dad). What I did was get my prescription from Kaiser, or you could go to Costco or somewhere else reasonable -- and then take your prescription to a genuinely original and hip glasses place. I got my Eyephorics from Optical Underground near Union Square in SF and they are really modern glasses that I never see on anyone else -- except once, in a movie, a futuristic villain was wearing them! Lisa in Oakland

I didn't see the original posting, but I second the suggestion to get your prescription at an optometrist and fill it at another store. I've been going to San Francisco Optics, 2248 Chestnut Street,, for years, and they are truly fabulous. They will look at your face, give you two frames from which to choose, and then you're done! No trying on 200 pairs of glasses. No lame optometrist's assistant who can't muster a real opinion. They are not the cheapest option out there, but for something that's practically permanently attached to my face, I don't mind paying a bit more for peace of mind and super fast & easy shopping. I get tons of compliments on all the glasses I've ever purchased there. They have never steered me wrong. Good luck! Happy to be 4-Eyes

Optometrist Good with Making Lenses Look Thinner

Oct 2006

Hi. I'm very near-sighted, perhaps too nearsighted for Lasik, and I'm looking for a good optometrist to help me find some glasses that don't look too thick. Any recommendations? snowshoebunny

I'm very near-sighted, too--20/900! I've gone to Dr. Larry Sarver's office in Rockridge for years, for both contacts and glasses, even though I live in North Berkeley and could find something closer. I'm really happy with my current glasses, which are quite thin and lightweight. They're good at getting me special compensation from my vision insurance to cover the extra cost, too, since my vision is so bad. Both Larry and his brother (also a Dr. Sarver, and I think he teaches at the UCB Optometry school) are wonderful. Wearing Glasses Again

i'm an optometrist, but i'm not writing to recommend anyone in particular. most any optometrist should be able to determine your prescription, and it shouldn't vary much from one to another. the thickness of your lenses depends on: 1. how strong a prescription you need 2. the size of frame that you choose (the smaller, the thinner. that's because they get thicker the further you go from the center) 3. the index of the material (higher index is more money but will be thinner. go for 1.66 or higher)

i'd also recommend against doing rimless or semi-rimless because that makes the thickness that much more obvious.

if you have to use bifocals (i've no idea how old you are), you can't choose the very tiny frames, because you need room for both the distance and near correction.

regardless of age, you should have your eyes dilated (i.e., they put the drops in) so that the doctor can get a thorough view of your retina. you are at greater risk for retinal detachment if you're highly near sighted. you can have a retinal hole, break or detachment without symptoms, and the earlier it is detected the better the result will be anon

I am extremely nearsighted, not eligible for Lasik and recently got a great pair of glasses, with the thinnest lenses I have ever had, through my optometrist -- Lisa Verdon,O.D. at Albany- Berkeley Optometry. Her office has a nice selection of frames and she and her staff are fantastic. Her office is on Solano and their number is (510)526-0194 Coke-bottle Lenses No More

I love my optometrist. Her name is Eileen Cheng, DO. Her business is known as Looking Glass Optometry and the phone number is 925 682-9331. She is in Concord, which is a trip from Berkeley, but she is such a careful and good optometrist that I followed her from Emeryville where she used to work, to her new practice out there, even with my full time job and 4 kids plus one husband! She has access to all the high refractive index lenses that are available so is perfectly suited to get you the thinnest glasses possible. Good luck Elizabeth

Optometrist in the east bay

August 2006

I am looking for a good optometrist in the east bay for my family. I have Kaiser but could go outside as well. Any suggestions would be helpful hmfms

EyeCare on Lakeshore Avenue (510-832-3937)....a small family practice. Dr Ursula Moonsamy is the Optometrist. She is currently in Africa donating her Optometric services but should be back next week. I have recommended many people and everyone has been extremely happy with her knowledge and kind nature. She is personable and the office staff are great. happy customer

Optometrist with computer eye strain experience

Apr 2006

Hi, I am having a hard time with my eyes when I'm at work on my computer. I'd like to find an optometrist who can check my eyes and also offer solutions to computer-related eye strain- whether it's using a different monitor, or adjusting contrast, tinted glasses..anything! I'd prefer to find someone close to walnut creek/lafayette area, but I'm definately willing to travel for someone who has a lot of experience helping computer users with eye problems. Thanks!

i'd highly recommend dr. sue ristow and/or dr. stephen dentone at pacific eye care center (1270 arroyo way, WC). the phone number is (925) 945-8188. another optometrist

Expert at fitting frames

March 2006

I am looking for an optician/opthamologist in the Berkeley/Albany area who is not only good with Zeiss lenses (can grind and install them accurately)but has an interest in fitting frames. I have a lot of astigmatism and am also very sensitive to small mis-adjustments in my frames. I have not yet found a provider in the East Bay I am comfortable with. Does anyone have a recommendation of a doctor who also is an artist about fitting and adjusting frames? Thank you, Cari

The best pair of glasses I ever had came from Dr. Lesli Handmacher (pronounced ''handmaker''), at Walnut and Vine in Berkeley. She was very, very picky and careful to make sure that the prescription was just right (I also have a strong astigmatism) and that the frames really fit. The downside is Dr. Handmacher's staff. They are plenty polite, but I had to wait 2 months (!) to receive my contacts. When I finally called to ask, it turned out my order had never been placed! My husband also had problems with their service. On the other hand, maybe she has different staff now? So, my advice: go to Dr. Handmacher but make sure you call often so the office staff doesn't neglect your order. Astigmatic too

Optometrist in/near North Berkeley

Jan 2006

I just found out that my long-term optometrist (a prof at ucb optometry school) has moved away -- does anyone have a good recommendation for an optometrist in private practice in or near north berkeley? -- i am v. nearsighted, wear contacts, and have had a number of vision problems so i need someone very experienced and careful -- thanks in advance for your help. concerned contact wearer

I like Dr. Mia Miller in El Cerrito Plaza, 526-2242. I also am nearsighted & wear contacts. I've been seeing her since the 1980s! Jennifer N.

I recently started going to Philip Schletter, based on a recommendation from my neighbor. He is incredibly knowledgeable and personable and is located at the Fourth street shops in Berkeley. 559-8181 seeing clearly now

I like Dr. Larry Harrison at Walnut Square Optometry, near Peets on Walnut and Vine. Amy

Dr. Leslie Handmacher (pronounced Handmaker) is a very experienced, detail-oriented optometrist in the Walnut Square complex (Vine & Walnut). Seeing clearly now

Optometrist at Costco?

Aug 2005

I'm a member at Costco. I understand Costco (in Richmond) has an Optometrist office with open appointments hours which makes scheduling easier. I'm wondering if anyone can share feedback regarding the office, costs, and services provided there. Thank you... sarina

The Costco optometrist is great. He pays attention, is careful, and we've had good results and follow-up. We get contacts from him and his associate also. The optician at Costco is great too. They do progressive lenses (and they're not bigger than normal lenses). Merry

Optician for Progressive Lenses

Aug 2005

I just got a prescription for progressive lenses from my Kaiser optometrist. He told me that I'd need bigger lenses on my glasses in order for my progressive lenses to work. I was disappointed because I'd like more fashionable glasses with narrow lenses. Then the Kaiser ophthalmologist I've being seeing for another eye condition said progressive lenses don't need to be bigger than the narrow single vision lenses I'm using now. Can anyone recommend an optician in the East Bay who is good at fitting progressive lenses who can help me figure out what I need? Does the lens manufacturer (like Zeiss, Seiko, Varilux,etc.) make a difference in how narrow the lenses can be? Is it a good idea to use a place like Lenscrafters that would let me bring glasses back if they don't work out?

I really like Allan Greene (Precision Vision) at 2120 Shattuck (right at the Berkeley BART station). Your Kaiser person may be giving you the straight scoop based on your prescription, but if anyone can find a way to fit it and meet your style needs, I bet it's Allan. I've been going to him for years. I have the VSP plan through my job and got a pair of glasses with progressive lenses a few years that just did not work for me. I went back to Allan with my prescription -- and I'm still using the pair he crafted. And, yes, I think using Varilux (sp?) lenses might make a big difference. Good luck. Tell him Norm says hi!

I love my optometrist and would recommend him to anyone!!! I switched twice, for convenience sake, and the opotmetrists made a mess of my glasses. I even went to Lenscrafters a couple times for the same reason - return if you don't like them. I swore I would never leave him again. I had a serious eye issue back in 2001 and he properly diagnosed the first time I walked in the door, even when neuro-opthamologists were baffled. He is very proud of the work he does and therefore takes a genuine interest in your eyesight, and is constantly updating his knowledge and equipment (and he has an awsome selection of frames). Like I said, I will never leave him again. I also really like the staff he has, the opticians have a good eye for style and fit. It's like visiting friends when I go in! the only problem: Their practice (husband and wife optometrists) is out in Pleasanton. But very much worth the trip. We just moved to C.V., but I would drive out there from San Francisco when I was in school and then from Alameda once I moved to the E.Bay simply because he's the best I've found! His name is PETE MILLER his wife is Celia Ziel (I've only seen her once.)
Miller, Peter L., OD Pleasanton Optometry Address: 1400 Santa Rita Rd # B, Pleasanton, CA 94566 Phone: (925) 846-4364
tell him Sonny recommended you. Feel free to e-mail me if you have other questions Sonia

Progressive lenses are great! They do have a minimum distance that they need in order to fit properly. There are many types of progressive lenses. All of them have differing seg heights (vertical distance needed.) The smallest seg heights available are usually around 17 mm (from bottom of frame to middle of pupil). But, be careful because the smaller the seg height you pick, the smaller reading area you will have. Also, there will be less ''wiggle room'' for you to find the correct spot of the lens. When you wear a progressive lens, you turn your nose to point at whatever you are looking at, and then dip your chin up and down until you find the proper part of the lens to look through for the distance you are looking at. Sounds complicated, but becomes second nature. If you pick a very small frame, your head position will have to be exact to get to that part of the lens. If you have a larger frame and can therefore pick a more forgiving progressive, you will have a larger area of the lens that will work. There are other variables to consider such as the power of the prescription, whether this is your first progressive or not, etc. I would recommend the school of optometry as our opticians are very knowledgable--either location. But, I do work there, so I am biased, I suppose. School of Optometry Doc

My husband just got progressives from the Kaiser Oakland optical shop, and he got little styley ones - they seem to be working great. And I know from my own experience that if you go there and the glasses don't work, you can bring them back. anon

I may be biased but I highly recommend my sister Ursula Moonsamy who is an Optometrist on Lakeshore Ave in Oakland. I have recommended friends to her and they have been extremely happy with her and have recommended their families etc to her. Many of them have needed progressive lenses. She is an extremely caring individual and also very thorough and knowlegeable. Her phone number is (510)832-3937. Priscilla

Costco or VSP provider for glasses?

May 2005

Our VSP vision plan offers the same benefit no matter where we go for eye exams or glasses. However we do get an additional 20% off exams and glasses (lenses and frames) if we go to a VSP provider. We called the Colma Costco and they said they are not a VSP provider. I noticed a lot of the VSP providers (at least the ones in S.F.) are very expensive compared to Costco. Comparing exam prices is fairly easy, Costco charges just $45 for an exam where a lot of the VSP providers charge $90. The hard part is comparing prices of frames between Costco and a VSP shop. There are so many frames to choose from it's hard to make an apple to apple comparison. Does anyone know on average how much cheaper Costco is for frames and lenses? Provided I get a 20% discount at a VSP provider where would be the cheapest for me to buy lenses and frames? My guess is even with a discount Costco will still be the cheapest. Joe G

Do you really want to choose an eye doctor based on price? I also think that at Costco, they charge extra to have the dilation part of the exam, which will end up making the prices more comparable, when you take that into account. I don't know much about glasses prices at Costco, but I do know that you can take the glasses prescription that you get from any eye doctor to any other eye glasses shop. anon

Alameda optometrist

March 2005

Does anyone have a great optometrist in or near Alameda? I have only seen one once in my adult life (I know, bad!) and the one I saw was in SF. Any recommendations near Alameda are helpful. Thanks! anon

I have been seeing Dr. Jennifer Ong for several years, and she is really great! Thorough, up-to-date on latest research and products, and also very good at giving an eye exam to my daughter, who was 4 at the time. Dr. Ong is at 2223 Santa Clara Ave., phone 521-0551. Victoria

Hi, I highly recommend Dr. Charlotte Tlachac at Island Eyecare on High Street. She has been taking care of my eyes for 15 years. I even made the trek back here when I did not live in Alameda. She's really knowledgable in addition to being a very nice lady and her staff is helpful. I'm going to be bringing my 3 year old in for an eye check soon! Good Luck, Kristie

Looking for an optometrist

Sept 2004

Does anyone have any feedback on the following optometrists?: Nick Shashasti, Channon Kao, Lawrence McKendell, Amater Traylor, Eileen Lo, Robert Pfost,


I've been seeing Channon Kao for several years and I really like her. She's warm and friendly and she has been open to working with me on several eye problems I had with contacts and glasses. She also gave me some good advice about my dry-eye. I'd recommend her. Lisa

I also highly recommend Dr. Channon Kao for eye exams and contact lens services. You can find her in downtown Berkeley at For Eyes (510)644-0909.

Seeking high end designer eyeglass shop

May 2004

I purchased a pair of ''Air Titanium'' eyeglasses about 5 years ago from a store on Union St. in San Francisco that is now out of business; I believe it was called Opticians. I have been trying to find another high end designer eyeglass shop that carries this brand of frames, because only the stores that carry this brand know how to make the lenses, and have the special equipment to do so. I've already given a few shops a try at making new lenses for me with disastrous results! Please!! Does anybody out there know of any shop that carries this brand anymore! I love these frames, and wish to continue wearing them! Thanks! Nicole

My husband purchased a pair of Air Titanium glasses last fall from Focal Point Opticians on Ashby Ave in Berkeley (right near College Ave). He loves them and has had no problems with them. The sales people did a great job adjusting the frames for him. The work is contracted out, so I don't believe they build the frames and lenses on site; but they do change out lenses and make adjustments there. They have a technician on site that works on installing lenses, etc. Cheryl

The best eyeglasses frame shop in the bay area is Visionary Opticians in the Northgate Mall in San Rafael. Hermann is the owner and is a virtual magician with glasses. He sold the round frames to John Lennon that he is so famous for (and still has the check from Apple Records for payment!). If he cannot help you then I doubt anyone can. Susan

I get my Air Titaniums (and I can't imagine wearing any other kind of glasses after wearing them for about 6 years) at The Focal Point on Ashby just west of College. It is a great optical shop- I've gone there for about 25 years and they are especially competent, friendly, and experienced. Cecelia

Try Spectacles on Maiden Lane (right off of Union Square). I have some Titanium frames (I'm not sure they are the same ones you have), and I got them there. The phone number is 415.781.8556. Love my glasses!

have you checked their website? apparently there are two places in SF and you can probably ask them where there are any more that may be closer to you. Liz

I've never heard of these, but I did a 30-second search and found the manufacturer,, and a dealer in Berkeley, The mfr's site lists other dealers, too. Isn't the Internet great? David, Berkeley

Doctor who accepts Vision Service Plan

May 2004

I was wondering if anyone can recommend an O.D. from the Vision Service Plan (VSP) for adult care. I do not have any significant eye problems (mild astigmatism) and I wear glasses. I am hoping for a doctor who you like AND carries interesting/funky looking frames. It would be great if their office was in Oakland or Berkeley areas (but will travel for cool frames!) Amy

I swear by Woodring (Solano Eye Care) on Solano (doh!), but I can't say he has ''funky'' frames. You might want to see if you can buy the frames yourself (most VSP plans only offer about $75 toward the cost of the frames) and have his lab do the lenses. I mean, you're talking about your eyes, and the lenses are the most important part. Also, Woodring's glasses person has a friend in the funky (well, funkier, but still professional) shop (but not VSP as far as I know) down Solano (a couple of doors up from Cugini's restaurant), so they might be able to work something out. For another good selection of frames, try Alan Greene (Precision Vision) on Shattuck right by the downtown BART station.

I have VSP insurance and have gone to Drs. Sarver and Yokoi (655-3797), in Rockridge, for years. I have some serious vision problems and they've been great at helping me deal with them. I've also sent both my husband and my father to them, after they had unsatisfactory results getting good prescriptions elsewhere. Oh...and they have a great selection of cool frames, but of course, VSP will only pay so much for those. You'll end up paying part of that bill no matter where you go. Patty

I like Dr. Sue Lin at Moderne Eye Optometry in Rockridge, on College across from Zachary's Pizza. They have a great variety of cool frames, and although they are not inexpensive, with VSP we find it doable. Sima

I highly recommend Lesli Handmacher in Berkeley. Melinda

We have VSP at my work and I saw an Oakland optometrist that might fit your needs. Dr. Tanya Gill has an office in an out of the way corner sort of near Jack London Square (closer to the Port) on Linden Street. She has a wonderful sense of style and figuring out what's good for your face, and some beautiful (some definitely interesting/funky) frames. I also really enjoyed my first exam with her -- she's bright and cheerful and personable. And the exam felt so comfortable, complete, and uninterrupted by anything, didn't have to wait, etc. I recommend Dr. Gill at See Comme Ca Optometry 510-663-8338,
[2008 note: Dr. Gill is now at Oakland Vision Center Optometry @ 1960 Broadway] Jocelyn

I highly recommend Dr. Lesli Handmacher, in Walnut Square Susan

Protective Eyewear During Sports

March 2004

Our eight year old girl needs protective goggles to wear during sports. Our ophthalmologist recommended that she wear them but did not give us any clue where to find them. We don't need these to be prescription lenses, just protective... our duaghter has impaired vision in one eye (not correctable) and so we need to take *extra caution* to protect her good eye when she plays soccer, softball, etc. Any recommendations for a place where we can try on/purchase protective goggles for kids for this purpose?? ~Thanks. Eileen

We got my son's goggles at Kaiser, with prescription lenses. Since you don't need corrective lenses, just go to a sporting good store (ie. Big 5 or Copelands) and save some money. good luck

Optometrists & Opticians for Adults: 2003 & Earlier

Eye Doctor in Albany/El Cerrito

Sept 2003

We are looking for a really good eye doctor/ophthalmologist who will give regular eye exams/check-ups but who is also knowledgeable about eye problems that might develop in someone who has high blood sugar/prediabetes. We would prefer someone in the Albany/El Cerrito area to cut down on travel time, but would be interested in other recommendations as well. We would also like to find an individual or practice where appointments don't involve hour-long waits, which has been a problem in the past. Thanks. Elaine

We have seen two doctors (one retired) at Albany/Berkeley Optometry (next to Toy-Go-Round) and been very happy with both. Currently we see Dr. Verdon and have never had to wait more than a few minutes for an appointment. Valerie

New glasses for miopia prescription

June 2003

I'm needing new glasses due to my miopia eye problem, and I already get a prescription. Any recommendation for stores in Berkeley/Albany area where I can get those in a reasonable price and with a variety of frames to choose from? And what about prices and models in Tang Center eye clinic in UC Berkeley? Sinia

If you have a myopia eye problem, you may want to consider going to see an Optometrist for your eyeglass fitting. I have referred many friends and friend's friends to See Comme Ca Optometry in Oakland, located by Jack London Square. They have had nothing but good things to say! The office is run entirely by one person, the Optometrist (a UC Berkeley Optometry School graduate). You get lots of attention, one-on-one service, and plenty of time to get all your questions answered. She has really nice frames, lenses, and contact lenses that are reasonably priced, and always has frames for adults and kids on sale. The service is great and the doctor is even more wonderful. The best place in the East Bay if you ask me! Here is the info: Dr. Tanya Gill, 95 Linden Street in Oakland, 510- 663-8338. Hours are by appointment so you have to call ahead. signed, near-sighted as well [2008 note: Dr. Gill is now at Oakland Vision Center Optometry @ 1960 Broadway]

I think for just getting glasses I wouldn't go to the school of optometry on campus. I think the exams you get are excellent, and very thorough, but the eyewear center is a little bit frustrating. They have a system where you have to be accompanied by a student while in the eyewear center, which means you have to wait at the front desk until one is available instead of looking at the frames. If you are using insurance for your glasses,your paper work needs to be checked over by one of the supervisors, so you have to wait for that, etc. The quality of the glasses is fine, and the selection actually pretty good, but it can be a frustrating experience. Anon.

Walnut Creek/Lamorinda optometrist

Nov 2004

I am looking for a new optometrist in the Walnut Creek- Lafayette-Orinda area. They do NOT need to take a certain insurance, since I have NO vision insurance, but I am looking for someone who takes their time with new patients, gives good service and has a good selection of fashionable frames? Would help if they are also good with children. Appreciate any recommendations. Thanks Kathleen

Dr. Richard Baker is in Lafayette at Lafayette Circle. He is quite personable, very good (he teaches at UC Berkeley's Optometric School), although somewhat expensive. He carries FABULOUS frames in his office, although you know how those prices run -- eyecare is so expensive!!! Anyhow, we were quite happy with him and my extended family still go to him; we had to go elsewhere (to one of his former students!) in order to save some money. Good luck! Trish

Nov 2003

Can anyone recommend a good optometrist in the Lamorinda Area? Claudia

Recommendation received: Mark Drucker (opthamologist)

Jan 2003

Hi - I'm looking for a recommendation for an optometrist who takes VSP in the Walnut Creek/Lamorinda area for my husband. I have a fabulous one in SF (Dr. Rochelle Slamovich at 703 Market St.), but my husband no longer works in SF so needs one closer to home. Thanks! Lori

i highly recommend Dr. Sue Ristow or Dr. Steve Dentone in Walnut Creek at Pacific Eye Center. they are both very professional and easy to talk to. they take vsp. (925)945-8188. suzie

William Schwertzscharf of, I believe, Professional Eyecare Optometry in Moraga is an excellent practioner and accepts VSP. He's a UCB Optometry graduate and longtime resident of Lafayette. Jennifer Boehler

I can highly recommend Dr. Robert DiMartino in Lafayette. (958 Moraga Rd., right next to the library 925 283 5350). He has an office with his wife, and is an excellent Optometrist. I believe he is also on the faculty at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry. Claire

Dr. Roderick Keener in Walnut Creek is wonderful! I never feel rushed when I'm there. His staff are really great, too! It's a small business where they treat you like family. My neighbors and their kids go to him too. His number is (925) 934-3388 and he's located on Bonanza b/w Locust and Main. Denise

Jan 2003

Hi - I'm looking for a recommendation for an optometrist who takes VSP in the Walnut Creek/Lamorinda area for my husband. I have a fabulous one in SF (Dr. Rochelle Slamovich at 703 Market St.), but my husband no longer works in SF so needs one closer to home. Thanks! Lori

i highly recommend Dr. Sue Ristow or Dr. Steve Dentone in Walnut Creek at Pacific Eye Center. they are both very professional and easy to talk to. they take vsp. (925)945-8188. suzie

William Schwertzscharf of, I believe, Professional Eyecare Optometry in Moraga is an excellent practioner and accepts VSP. He's a UCB Optometry graduate and longtime resident of Lafayette. Jennifer Boehler

I can highly recommend Dr. Robert DiMartino in Lafayette. (958 Moraga Rd., right next to the library 925 283 5350). He has an office with his wife, and is an excellent Optometrist. I believe he is also on the faculty at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry. Claire

Dr. Roderick Keener in Walnut Creek is wonderful! I never feel rushed when I'm there. His staff are really great, too! It's a small business where they treat you like family. My neighbors and their kids go to him too. His number is (925) 934-3388 and he's located on Bonanza b/w Locust and Main. Denise

Berkeley Optometric Group

June 2002

Does anyone have any experience with Dr. Fujikawa, an optometrist in Berkeley? I wear contacts, need a routine checkup, and he is on my vision plan. Pam

I have nothing but good things to say about the Berkeley Optometric Group, which includes Dr. Fujikawa. Over the 16 years I have been going to this group on Shattuck & Channing, I have seen all four of the current doctors, and they have provided kind and conscientious care. They have always been willing to take the extra time to provide a very thorough eye exam, including dilation each year, since there is a history of eye disease in my family, and they have never made me feel rushed. Drs. Fujikawa and Chun are the founding members of the group, and are both very knowledgable and good; Dr. Chun is on the clinical faculty at the UC Optometry School and is very active in various outreach programs, as well as maintaining his private practice at this group. My husband and boys also have their check-ups there, and Dr. Ogawa worked with my younger son on focusing exercises to improve his vision. A number of my co-workers have switched from the optometry school, appreciating the continuity, more focused, and less rushed attention that a small group provides, and the newest addition to the group, Dr. Hom, has won some of them over with her funny jokes as well as her competent manner. The office itself is small, and the waiting area can feel crowded, but I have never had a long wait, and the office staff are very friendly and helpful as well. Eileen

Drs. Fujikawa, Chun and Ogawa are all great optometrists. They are very knowledgable and easy to work with. Dr. Fujikawa is also a clinic teacher at the School of Optometry. They all keep up with the latest eye care. a person in the eye business

My husband and I have both been going to the Berkeley Optometric Group for four or five years now and have been very happy with the quality of care they provide. I have seen all of the doctors, including Dr. Fujikawa. Our experiences have all been positive. We both have contacts and glasses. It is easy to get an appointment; they handle all the insurance details (we have VSP); their front office people are helpful and pleasant; and the doctors are thorough and professional. One of the doctors in the practice also teaches at the Optometry school at Cal I believe, although I don't recall which one. I feel very comfortable recommending them. Janie

Good optometrist for adults? CostCo for contact lenses?

May 2000

Can anyone recommend a good optometrist for adults? I went to one of the those drop-in places on Shattuck and got a prescription, then had a work-paid eye checkup with an optometrist in San Francisco, and the latter recommended a different prescription. Also, I've had the experience where the optometrist requires that glasses or contacts be purchased at his office only and won't let me take the presciption somewhere else to be filled. What's the deal? Also, has anyone bought contact lenses at CostCo? Clearly, I'm confused. Rebecca

Dr. Harold P. Woodring, OD, on Solano Avenue has been my family's optometrist since he opened 15 years ago. He is an associate clinical professor at the Cal optometry school, thorough, personable, has great hours and staff. I'm one of those 20/1000 folks, with all the eye ailments of middle age, so I see him a lot -- he diagnosed my torn retina a few years ago and was fantastic -- it was Friday at 500 when I went in and he personally worked me through the insurance referral bureaucracy and got me treated by laser surgery in the top eye practice in SF by Saturday at 10 am. (Drs. Ai and Reader, no less). No mean feat, I can assure you. His rates are competitive, take VSP and probably other eye insurance.

As for your other questions I can't say why different docs got you different prescriptions, except that there is an element of judgment and communication with the patient involved in getting it right. It is illegal to require a patient to fill the prescription at the issuing optometrist's office -- they are required to give you a written prescription good for a year that you can take anywhere.

As for Costco, and by extension, contact lens purchases generally contacts are a mass production item -- they make 'em in bulk, then measure 'em to determine whether the lens is good, and what power. The reverse of hand-crafting, if you will. That means you get the same quality wherever you buy them, and makes contact lenses a commodity item. In contrast, traditional glasses are still made by hand, and quality varies a lot. I've found that Woodring, at least, charges just about the same as the chain optometry stores for contacts, though I haven't priced Costco. I expect you'd save a little, but not much, like about $0.50 per soft lens. It adds up if you use a new one every day, doesn't make much difference if you use them for a week or two and then switch.

Hi. We've gone to Dr. Scott Yokoi at Rockridge Optometrists for several years now and are *very* happy with him. His partners are brothers, can't remember their first names, but their last name is Sarver. They seem quite nice also. They're at 655-3797, 5321 College Avenue. Laurel

Dr. Jane Ogawa at 2414 Shattuck, 843-1228. She's careful and thorough. Also, the office is reasonably efficient, and whenever I've had minor problems with my glasses, they've fixed them for free. You pay more initially than at one of those bargain places, but the fittings are good. I've tried some of those bargain places (For Eyes, I think) to get the prescription filled, and once they have your money, they could care less about doing all the little adjustments that are needed to get the glasses to fit well. Also, at an independent optometrist's there is no pressure to unnecessarily buy new glasses. Carol

We have a sign posted here at the Optometry Clinic that states Federal law requires that a written copy of the spectacle prescription be given to the patient. However, the law does not require the release of a contact lens prescription; this is left to the discretion of the optometrist. We give incredibly thorough, very competent eye exams at Minor Hall or the Tang Center on campus and we ALWAYS give you your spectacle prescription, although you are welcome to use our Eyewear Center also. Barbara

Optometrist for gas permeable hard contact lenses

September 1999

Does anyone have a good optometrist who is especially good with fitting gas permeable hard contact lenses? I'd like someone in Berkeley or Oakland. Has anyone used the UC optometry clinic for this? My concern with going there is that since I'm difficult to fit they may not keep trying until it works like my previous doctor did. Thanks a lot for your advice. Leah

I highly recommend Rockridge Optometry (Drs Sarver and Yokoi) 655-3797 Deborah

I don't know about the gas-permeable hard contact lenses, but Ken Seger is a great optician and he's right downtown. He teaches at the Optometry Clinic, and I think if he knew someone who was especially good with GPHCL's he'd tell you. He's at (510) 845-4448. John

I've been going to UC optometry for close to 20 years, for both contacts & glasses. Will they keep trying until it works? Oh, yes, and then some. Because they're training students, they will take a long time with the exams, and they will have you come back again & again until everybody is satisfied. So thoroughness is not a problem. Excessive thoroughness might be. Letitia

I have to agree with Letitia. These students are THOROUGH. It takes about two hours for an exam. But I am confident that if there were anything (even the smallest thing) wrong with my eyes, then everyone in the entire facility, including faculty will come and look at it and offer an opinion. I have heard that it is a very highly rated school, so it attracts excellent faculty and the faculty checks each patient. Be prepared for a longer exam using the newest equipment, though. The students are extremely bright, very enthusiastic and in general quite competent and entertaining. Myriam

Tommy Hayashi - 1535 Ashby (near California) at 843-8169 - helped to invent gas-permeable contact lenses. He has been our family optometrist for years. I met him while I was working in Mechanical Engineering here on campus, where he got his Ph.D. in ME (along with a degree in optometry). I do not wear contacts myself, but my older daughter does, and he was very good with her vision care. --Bonnie Hariton Bonnie

I have used the UC Optometry School with great sucess. My first pair back when I was a student were the best fitting ones I ever had. It took them 5 tries but they finally were a good fit. For the next 10 years I visited several different doctors and none have fit as well. I finally got smart and went back to the Op School a few years back and once again have good fitting lenses. Warning though, appointments will take you and hour to hour and half with all the checking and rechecking but worth the time! Judi

Re gas permeable contacts: I've worn them for years and see the people in the office of Sorenson, dad and son, in Berkeley. See phone book for number. Linda

I have been using the UC Optometry school since I was in the 6th grade. They are GREAT! The exams may take longer since the professors come in to double check some of the student's results, but I think it is well worth it. In fact I think you get a much better exam since there are two drs checking. I too wear RGP lenses and have not had any problems with my prescription or fit. When I developed an intolerance to the material they were very good about switching me so that I could continue to wear lenses. It is very easy to get an appointment (usually I can get one within a week of my call) and they even have saturday apts if you don't want to take time off from work. (They have reserved patient parking up by the stadium, but I would avoid home game weekends just because of the traffic around campus.) Another bonus if you are using VSP is that they take care of getting the claim form and everything in advance so you only have to call and make your apt. Rose

I don't think I've mentioned this on this list before: My friend who went to get a routine checkup at the UCSF Optometry School was seen by an ophthamologist who saw something suspicious on his retina and followed it up. They discovered it was leukemia, and it is a good thing they caught it so early when the symptoms were still subtle, because they were able to treat it. So, even if you don't feel a great need for a thorough exam, there is still some potential benefit to the thoroughness. Joyce

November 2004

Re: feedback on Dr. Nosoff--
Dr. Nosoff is an optometrist who rents space at Costco in Richmond. He was trained at UC Berkeley Optometry School and is knowledgeable and very personable. Our whole family has used him for several years and we are very satisfied. Nancy

Re: Ophthalmologist for 8-year-old who may have astigmatism (Oct 2003)
Don't have an ophthalmologist to recommend, but your school and/or pediatrician may be unnecessarily recommending you see an ophthalmologist. It can be economical to do so if your health plan covers it and you don't have separate vision insurance, but if you have the option of seeing an optometrist, I would recommend Dr. Woodring on Solano Avenue. Relaxed practice, friendly people, great service. Norm