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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Optometrist CATEGORY

Dr. Lassa Frank is a 30-year veteran of the eye care industry and owner of Mt. Tam Optometric Center, a Diamond Certified practice since 2013. He can be reached at (415) 843-1986 or by email.

Dr. Lassa Frank

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dr. Lassa Frank: Helping the World to See

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN ANSELMO — Long before he was a veteran of the eye care field, a young Lassa Frank didn’t know the meaning of the word “optometrist” until he met with one following a sports-related injury. “While playing on the UCLA water polo team, I was poked in the eye during a scrimmage and ended up in the exam room at the campus eye institute,” he remembers. “A male doctor walked in and told me he was an optometrist. I asked him what an optometrist did and he proceeded to explain it to me. A couple months later, we crossed paths again when I got poked in the eye a second time. It turned out he was one of the head optometrists at the institute. He ultimately got me a job at the institute and later helped me get into the optometry program at UC Berkeley.”

After graduating from Berkeley’s optometric program in 1986, Dr. Frank began practicing alongside a veteran optometrist in Mill Valley. Not long after, he purchased his colleague’s satellite practice in San Rafael. Today, as owner of Mt. Tam Optometric Center, Dr. Frank expresses his passion for a career that all started with a minor eye injury. “I’ve always believed that if you have to work, you’d better enjoy what you do,” he says. “Before getting involved with optometry, I’d always made a living doing things I enjoyed, whether it was as a raft guide, kayak instructor or bartender. Optometry is just a continuation of that, and today I’m one of the few people who can truly say they love what they do.”

As a resident of San Anselmo (where he lives with his wife, Kristel, and their son, Toren), Dr. Frank says while he enjoys many attributes about his locale, there’s one in particular he favors. “I love my three-block commute,” he laughs. “For many years, I lived in Point Richmond and dealt with the hassles of driving across the bridge to get to work, so I really like being closer to my practice, as well as being situated amongst the community I serve.”

Outside of work, Dr. Frank enjoys a variety of pastimes, from being a spectator at his son’s sports events to pursuing his own activities. “My son is very involved in hockey and plays for a local team, so during the season our lives sort of revolve around that,” he says. “We do enjoy Telemark skiing when we get the chance, and during the summer we love to go windsurfing at the delta.”

In addition to his seeing patients at his office, Dr. Frank devotes time to practicing his profession in a charitable capacity. “I’ve been involved in charity work since I was in college, when I led a team of volunteer students on a trip to the Dominican Republic,” he explains. “Some years back, a couple of colleagues and I started Help the World to See, an organization designed to make it easier for eye doctors to do volunteer work. It wasn’t long before we became the largest processor of used eyeglasses in the western United States. We’ve since joined forces with the Lions, the largest collector of used eyeglasses in the western United States, which has enabled us to significantly increase our impact.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dr. Frank says he would put more time and effort into charity work. “It’s said that optometrists never retire, they just work less days,” he laughs. “So, in that vein, I would probably spend more time doing eye care abroad, helping those in need while seeing more of the world.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could immediately master a musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The guitar.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Café Lotus in Fairfax.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The future. I’m a pretty optimistic person, and I think some pretty amazing things are going to be accomplished going forward.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Bacon.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Relax by the fire and read a good book.

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How to Remove a Stuck Contact Lens

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SAN ANSELMO — Eye care professionals often receive calls from patients who are unable to remove contact lenses that are stuck in their eyes. By following a simple series of steps, you can deal with this problem yourself. Given the… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Contact Lens Tips

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN ANSELMO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you experience difficulty removing your contact lens, there's a simple solution that can help. Today, we’re in San… Read more

Dr. Thomas Aller is a 34-year veteran of the optometry field and president of Dr. Thomas A. Aller Optometrist, Inc., a Diamond Certified practice since 2013. He can be reached at (650) 918-6953 or by email.

Dr. Thomas Aller

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dr. Thomas Aller: A Career in Focus

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN BRUNO — When he was in college, Dr. Thomas Aller first considered a career in animal research, but he eventually shifted his focus toward a more human-centered vocation. “I was studying animal behavior at UC Berkeley—I figured I was going to teach Koko the gorilla to write Shakespeare or something useful like that,” he laughs. “However, I ultimately concluded that a life of doing research wasn’t for me, and I went into optometry instead.”

Today, after more than 31 years practicing in the optometry field, Dr. Aller says his favorite part of his job is, ironically, research. “I’ve spent most of my career researching the preventative treatment of nearsightedness in young children, which has become a worldwide epidemic in recent years. It’s also been long regarded as a strictly genetic and incurable condition, which I took as a challenge.”

Originally from Berkeley, Dr. Aller now resides in the neighboring town of Albany with his wife, Virginia. “This is where I grew up, so it just feels like home,” he says. “Not only are the people and weather great, we also have good schools and a lot of good restaurants, so it’s an ideal place to live and raise a family.”

Outside of work, Dr. Aller engages in a variety of physical and cerebral activities. “I play handball competitively and enjoy skiing and hiking as well,” he says. “I’m also an inventor, and I’m always working on at least one project. It’s a pretty arduous process to take an idea from conception to being provable and then actually getting it patented and developed, but it’s something I really enjoy.” When he’s not hitting a ball or tinkering in his lab, Dr. Aller keeps up with his and Virginia’s three grown children: Kimberly, Brian and Theresa.

In his life and career, Dr. Aller espouses the importance of persevering in the face of adversity. “My work in curing childhood nearsightedness has been met with a fair amount of resistance because it goes against the previously held notion that it’s incurable,” he explains. “Any time you challenge a conventional view, it goes through cycles of denial and even hostility before finally reaching the point of acceptance. I’ve seen been plenty of the former, but it’s also encouraging to see more and more eye doctors starting to treat nearsightedness as a preventable condition.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if could retire tomorrow, Dr. Aller says he’d spend more time inventing. “I’d probably take out my Top Ten list of invention ideas and get serious about working on them. A colleague of mine recently retired from optometry and is now running an ‘invention incubator,’ which sounds like something I’d like to be a part of.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Both. I had coffee this morning, and right now I have a pot of tea boiling.

Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: Probably the trumpet—I used to play it in high school.

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: Tower of Power.

Q: What’s your favorite movie genre?
A: Suspenseful thrillers, particularly classics like Alfred Hitchcock’s films.

Q: How do you like your eggs?
A: Over medium.

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Innovative Methods for Treating Childhood Nearsightedness

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SAN BRUNO — It’s been long believed (and still is today) that once a child is diagnosed with nearsightedness, nothing can be done to stop the subsequent regression. However, over the last decade, researchers have discovered that there are indeed… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Treating Myopia

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN BRUNO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you or your children suffer from Myopia, or nearsightedness, it's important to know your options so that you… Read more

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