Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.


Dr. Michael Ottati is president of Diablo Valley Optometric Group, a Diamond Certified company since 2013. He can be reached at (925) 331-0362 or by email.

Dr. Michael Ottati

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dr. Michael Ottati: Seeing Through a New Lens

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — When asked what initially drew him to the field of optometry, Dr. Michael Ottati cites a formative firsthand experience of the benefits of vision correction. “I’ve had poor eyesight since I was a child,” he explains. “In elementary school, I sat in the back of the classroom and constantly had to get up and walk halfway to the front just to see the chalkboard. I always just accepted this as the way things were, and I never realized it could be different.” When Michael got his first pair of glasses at the age of seven, he experienced what can only be described as an epiphany. “It really was a life-changing event,” he remembers. “All of a sudden, things like leaves on trees and blades of grass—things that were indistinguishable to me before—were crisp and clear. Needless to say, it made a big impression on me.”

Heading into college, Michael considered going into the vision care field, but after discovering the lengthy process it entailed, he decided to major in business instead. It wasn’t long after, however, that he realized he’d made a mistake. “After a short time working in the commercial field, I realized that I hated it,” he says. “There I was, just out of college and already miserable in my career. I knew I had to make a change.” Michael returned to school to pursue optometry, and his revitalized sense of enthusiasm made him confident that he was on the right path. “I was getting better grades than ever before, which I think reflected my enjoyment of the subject matter.”

Today, as president of Diablo Valley Optometric Group, Michael says he enjoys the challenges (and rewards) of finding solutions to his patients’ problems. “Every patient has a different situation and different needs, which is why resolving an issue often requires some problem solving. It’s very fulfilling to be able to pick up on something that improves a patient’s life, and in some cases even saves it.”

Residing in the East Bay with his wife, Julie, and their three children, Michael says he appreciates his central proximity to all the Bay Area has to offer. “Being close to the city, the coast and the mountains means there are just so many things to do. One of our favorite pastimes is to go down to the Monterey area and hit the beach.” In addition to enjoying the outdoors, Michael spends much of his time outside of work restoring vintage cars, an interest he shares with his oldest son.

In his life and career, Michael espouses the importance of having a passion for one’s profession. “I think the key to true success is to love what you do,” he explains. “My dad always told me to find a career that I really enjoyed, which for me meant going back to college and getting another degree. Now that my oldest son is deciding on his college major, I’m giving him the same advice.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Michael says he’d take a long vacation abroad. “I’d probably take my wife on a month-long tour of Europe. Then, when I got back, I’d get busy completing some of those restoration projects I have sitting in my garage.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1967 Pontiac Lemans.

Q: If you could drive any car, what would it be?
A: Probably a Ferrari—either the 458 or the FF.

Q: What’s one country you’d like to visit and why?
A: Italy, because both my wife and I have Italian heritage. I actually Googled my name and found a village called Ottati on the western coast of Italy, so of course we’d have to go there.

Q: What websites do you visit on a daily basis?
A: M5board.com and bimmerforums.com—they’re both BMW forums that I visit pretty regularly.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: Hot Wheels.

Q: What do you like on your pizza?
A: Black olives.

A: Black olives.

Read more

How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy


ANTIOCH — Many optometric patients ask what they can do to prevent long-term vision problems. While there’s no magical expedient, there are a couple of basic steps you can take to keep your eyes healthy and prolong your vision. One… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Caring For Your Eyes

Complete Video Transcription:

ANTIOCH — Host, Sarah Rutan: Whether or not you require glasses in your daily life, its important to know how to care for your eyes to… 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.

Read more

Innovative Methods for Treating Childhood Nearsightedness


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

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

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.

Read more

How to Remove a Stuck Contact Lens


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

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