Mark R. Mandel, MD

Mark R. Mandel, MD has been selected by hundreds of eye doctors and other physicians to perform LASIK, corneal transplant, and cataract surgery on themselves, their families, and their office staff.

Mark R. Mandel, MD

As a sub-specialist Dr. Mandel has performed over 60,000 LASIK procedures and 20,000 cataract/IOL procedures. He has been serving Bay Area patients since 1983.

Mark R. Mandel, MD

We are proud to offer state of the art technology for measuring the eye and performing the latest in advanced surgical techniques. Striving to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Mark R. Mandel, MD

Graduate of Oxford University, UCLA School of Medicine, Fellowship trained cornea transplant and refractive specialist. Chosen by more surgeons to perform surgery on themselves and their families.


Author Archives: Dr, Mark Mandel

Why Staring at the Sun during a Solar Eclipse Is So Dangerous

On August 21, North America experienced the first total solar eclipse in 99 years. The skies darkened from Oregon to South Carolina as the moon passed in between the sun and the Earth. Millions of people headed outside to catch a glimpse of the exciting natural phenomenon.

In the weeks leading up to the eclipse, national news outlets warned viewers about the dangers of staring directly into the sun during the eclipse. As a Bay Area vision specialist, Mark Mandel, MD, wants to explain why these warnings were so important, why it is dangerous to stare at the sun during a solar eclipse and how to take the proper precautions. With scientists predicting the next total eclipse for North America coming in 2024, it’s a good idea to know how to protect yourself! Continue reading

Why Your Family Eye Health Is Important

Family Eye Health

Before undergoing treatment for vision correction or an eye condition, your eye doctor will ask about your family eye health. But why is this? Bay Area Lasik surgeon and corneal specialist Mark Mandel, M.D., of Optima Eye explains the importance of your family eye health. Continue reading

Survey: Majority of Adults Have Eye Problems But Don’t Get Treatment

Many adults have eye problems but don’t get treated

When you notice a change in your vision or a problem with your eyes, do you get your eyes checked? If you answered no, you’re not alone. According to a recent poll commissioned by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the majority of American adults report having eye or vision problems but most fail to have their eyes checked. In this blog post, Mark Mandel, M.D., of Optima Eye discusses the findings of the survey and explains the importance of routine eye exams. Continue reading

Are Refractive Errors Hereditary?

Are refractive errors hereditary?

A growing amount of research has suggested that a person’s family eye health history is a risk factor for many eye conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration. But what about refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism? Can these common vision problems be inherited? In this blog post, cornea and Bay Area LASIK specialist Mark Mandel, M.D., of Optima Eye answers this question in detail. Continue reading

How to Prevent Digital Eye Strain

Prevent digital eye strain

According to the Vision Council, nearly 70 percent of American adults experience some form of digital eye strain. Digital eye strain is caused by the continuous use (typically more than two hours) of digital devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones, all which have become part of everyday life for many of us. If you experience red eyes, eye twitching, dry eyes and headaches after staring at a computer or other digital device, you may have digital eye strain. While these symptoms are bothersome, there are some steps you can take to prevent them. In this blog post, LASIK eye surgeon Mark R. Mandel MD of Optima Eye shares a few ways you can protect your vision from digital eye strain.

Use Proper Lighting

Outdoor sunlight shining through the window or harsh interior lighting can cause unnecessary strain on your eyes. If your office has a window, close the curtain or blinds as often as possible to avoid screen glare caused by sunlight. Or, try positioning your computer screen to the side of the window instead of in front of it or behind it. As an added measure, consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor.

Modify Your Display Settings

Many people find that adjusting the brightness and other display settings on their computer and digital devices helps reduce strain and fatigue on their eyes. The brightness of your screen should match, approximately, that of your surroundings. Adjusting the text size and contrast on your screen can also reduce eye strain, especially when composing long documents. Usually, black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort.

Exercise Your Eyes

Constantly focusing on your screen tires your eyes. Give your eyes a much needed break once in a while by exercising them. Try blinking 10 times every 20 minutes very slowly, as if falling asleep. This helps moisturize your eyes and prevent dry eyes and irritation. Or, try what eye doctors call the “20-20-20 rule.” Look away from your screen every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object that’s at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Stay on Top of Your Eye Health

Because the symptoms of digital eye strain are so common, it is easy for them to go unnoticed. But symptoms like headaches and dry eyes can create unneeded discomfort or, in some cases, greatly affect your vision over time. In some people, these symptoms can point to much more serious eye conditions, like dry eye syndrome. Safeguard your eyes from serious vision problems by visiting your optometrist regularly. If you are experiencing blurry vision and are considering LASIK surgery, Optima Eye can help. For more information, please email us today at

Healthy Eye Habits for the Fall

Healthy eye habits for fall

The fall season brings cooler weather and new risks for your vision. The drop in temperature can cause dry eyes and allergies to arise. Keep your vision healthy and strong this season with these helpful habits from LASIK eye surgeon Mark R. Mandel, MD of Optima Eye.

Rest your eyes. If you are headed back to school this fall or spending a lot of time in front of a computer, you are at risk for digital eye strain. Symptoms of digital eye strain include dry eyes, redness and itchiness. Remember to rest your eyes by taking frequent breaks. Try the “20-20-20” rule: take a break every 20 minutes and look at objects at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to relieve eye strain. Remember to also blink often; we tend to blink one-third less than normal when using a computer, tablet, smartphone or other digital devices.

Stay active. Don’t let the cold weather keep you from exercising regularly. Staying fit is good for your entire body, including your eyes. Regular exercise can help decrease the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can cause eye-related complications. Research has also shown that exercise can decrease the risk of macular degeneration and other eye diseases and conditions.

Wear sunglasses. It’s recommended you wear sunglasses outdoors year round, no matter the weather outside. Even when it’s cloudy or overcast, the sun’s harmful UV rays can reach your eyes, putting them at risk for sunburn (photokeratitis). Wearing sunglasses can also safeguard against windy conditions and flying debris that can harm your eyes.

Drink water. The arrival of fall also means the arrival of delicious coffee and hot cocoa flavors. However, it’s important to continue drinking plenty of water. Water is necessary for your body to produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist and comfortable. Eye-related symptoms of dehydration include redness, dryness and puffy eyelids.

Prepare for allergies. Fall can stir up a range of eye allergens, such as pollen, dust and pet dander. Wash your hands often, and avoid rubbing your eyes. If you can, try to avoid what is causing your eye allergies. Remember to wash your pillow cases often. As an added measure, buy allergen resistant pillows.

Get a comprehensive eye exam. The fall season is the perfect time to get your eyes thoroughly checked by a trusted eye doctor. Many children and college students head back to school, making good vision necessary for success. A lot of schools offer vision screening for students, but keep in mind this is not the same as a comprehensive eye exam. An eye exam with your eye doctor can detect vision problems and treat eye conditions to keep your eyes healthy and strong. To schedule an exam for yourself and your family, contact your optometrist. If you have any questions regarding your eye care, email us at

Why Does My Eye Twitch?

Why does my eye twitch?

An eye twitch, or myokymia, occurs when eyelid muscle contractions cause the eyelid to spasm uncontrollably for several seconds or minutes. Eye twitching is common and usually harmless. However, if you have ever experienced an eye twitch, or several of them, you know the feeling can be bothersome, especially if you don’t know what is causing the eye twitch. Here, LASIK eye surgeon Mark R. Mandel, MD discusses the causes and cures of an eye twitch.

What Causes an Eye Twitch?

An eye twitch can be triggered by several factors. Stress causes epinephrine to arouse the muscles in the body, sometimes leading to eyelid contractions. Too much caffeine can also cause an eye twitch because it stimulates the muscles and nerves. Computer eye strain from overuse of computers and smartphones can cause vision-related stress, which in turn can trigger an eye twitch. Lack of sleep and certain medications caused by changes in vision are also common causes of an eye twitch.

Can an Eye Twitch Be a Symptom of a Serious Condition?

Although rare, an eye twitch can be a symptom of other eye conditions. An eye twitch can accompany blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids caused by bacteria. An eye twitch can also be a symptom of dry eyes or pink eye. Neurological disorders such as blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm can cause more serious forms of eye twitching.

In even rarer cases, an eye twitch can be a symptom of a brain nerve disorder, such as Bell’s palsy or Parkinson’s disease. In these cases, other symptoms will usually accompany an eye twitch. If an eye twitch persists, see your eye doctor to see if it’s a sign of a more serious medical problem.

How Can I Cure an Eye Twitch?

Benign eye twitches can usually be cured by making changes to lifestyle habits such as:

  • Get a full night’s sleep
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Minimize your use of digital devices (i.e., computer, smartphone)
  • Participate in daily stress relief activities (i.e., exercise)
  • Use eye drops or artificial tears to keep eyes lubricated
  • Schedule regular eye exams

The best way to keep your eyes healthy is by having regular eye exams with an experienced eye doctor. A comprehensive eye exam can address vision changes that can cause an eye twitch. Call your optometrist to schedule an appointment.

Kamra Inlay for Presbyopia

As you know, the FDA recently approved the Acufocus Kamra Inlay in the United States. Given the number of presbyopes (including myself), this sounds like quite an exciting addition to our refractive armamentarium.

However, as a conservative corneal specialist, I feel that, like all new technology, caution is advised.

The Kamra implant is a small, thin, ring-shaped inlay measuring 3.8mm in diameter and 5 microns thick. That is one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. There is a 1.6mm aperture in the center of the Kamra Inlay which acts as a pinhole. The ring itself has approximately 8,400 microscopic holes that are each approximately 5-10 microns wide, which allow for the flow of nutrients through the cornea. Surgically, the procedure involves the creation of a femtosecond laser pocket at a depth of approximately 200 microns in the patient’s non-dominant eye. The Kamra implant is placed over the first Purkinje image. The Kamra design is such that the depth of focus in the non-dominant eye is increased through the pinhole effect, while having a relatively minimal effect on distance vision.

Worldwide (especially in Japan) there have been tens of thousands of these Kamra implants placed. In the United States, there have been a few FDA study sites, but not many lenses have been implanted.

For best results, the non-dominant eye should be between +0.50 diopters and -0.75 diopters. This can be either intrinsic ametropia, or if a patient is myopic or hyperopic, a LASIK can be performed such that the patient is brought into this range. Later, the Kamra implant is placed in a femtosecond pocket created below the LASIK flap.

In the FDA study, at 12 months, 84% of patients could see 20/40 or better uncorrected at near in the Kamra eye. Binocularly, 94% could see 20/40 or better uncorrected at near. With respect to uncorrected distance vision in the implanted eye, patients lost an average of 3 letters at 12 months. Initially, approximately 9% of patients had to have their Kamra Inlays removed over the course of the first 5 years, primarily for visual complaints or medical indications. However, since the FDA study, as surgeons have become more comfortable with the procedure, and the Kamra Inlay is placed in a deep stromal pocket vs. under a LASIK flap, the explant rate is now approximately 2%.

However, even with the deep scleral pocket technique, 4% of patients still experience aggressive wound healing characterized by stromal thickening over the inlay, central flattening, and the development of haze over the in-lay, and a hyperopic shift. Most of these patients improve with intense steroid therapy. However, a certain number of these patients will require explantation.


Like all refractive surgery patients, the patients must have reasonable expectations and be completely informed of not only what to expect, but of all the potential risks and complications. Ideally, patients can read cell phones, tablet devices, computer, and see newsprint. However, if patients need or want to read small print for long periods of time, they still may need to use low power readers. In addition to a very detailed explanation of the realistic expectations, it would not be a good idea to implant these devices in patients who are professional drivers or pilots. Additionally, nervous and obsessive patients would not be good candidates.

Shortly, you will be hearing advertisements on the radio and seeing electronic and print media advertisements for these Kamra implants. Accordingly, patients will be asking you about them.


Currently, the Kamra inlay is the only FDA approved device. However, there are a number of other inlays in the pipeline which may offer advantages over the Kamra implant. From my extensive review of the literature as well as talking to corneal specialists throughout the world, although many of these lenses offer potentially excellent results, there is certainly no “perfect” inlay available at this time. Not that perfection is necessary; however, I need to ensure that my patients and yours receive a product that has a very high success rate and a very low chance of causing either unwanted side effects or potential corneal damage. Even if “most patients” are thrilled, if 4% are unhappy, that means if you do 250 surgeries a year (conservatively) that’s at least ten unhappy patients per year. That number may seem low an absolute value, however, to me, that is an unacceptably high “failure rate” for patients expecting to get rid of reading glasses and not lose distance acuity or contrast.


The Raindrop implant is expected to be the next approved by the FDA. It is a 2mm hydrogel inlay which is 30 µm thick and creates a curvature change at the surface of the cornea. Patients gain 5 to 6 lines of visual acuity and lose approximately one line of distance visual acuity. Halos and glare do not seem to be a problem in these patients.

The FlexiVue is a 3mm hydrophilic acrylic lens with add power between 1.50 and 3.50 diopters. Although this lens significantly improves near visual acuity, it significantly diminishes distance visual acuity in the implanted eye.

As you know from working with me for many years, I do not believe in jumping onto new technology as soon as it is FDA approved. At this time, as a safety-oriented conservative cornea and refractive surgeon, I am electing not to implant the Kamra Inlay until there is more United States experience and I am convinced that they are effective and produce the kind of results that our demanding patient population expects and deserves.

As always, please call me if you have any questions.


Are Light Eyes More Susceptible to UV Damage?

UV radiation hurts light eyes

By now, you’re aware that wearing sunglasses is important to protect your eyes from the sun and harmful ultraviolet rays. But did you know not all eyes are created equal? Factors such as age and even eye color play a part in how much at risk a person is for UV damage. People with light-colored eyes, including hazel, green or blue eyes, are at higher risk for damage and eye diseases tied to UV exposure.

Unfortunately, not enough people know about this fact. A poll conducted in 2014 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that while more than half of Americans surveyed reported having light-colored eyes, only 32 percent of those polled knew that light-colored eyes are associated with a higher risk for sun damage and certain eye diseases. LASIK and cataract surgeon Dr. Mark R. Mandel discusses the risks in greater detail below.

What is UV Damage?

Ultraviolet radiation comes from the sun and artificial sources like welding machines, tanning beds and lasers. Too much exposure to UV radiation can have damaging short-term effects on the skin such as sunburns, and long term effects like wrinkles and sun spots. However, UV radiation can also have harmful short-term and long-term effects on the eyes. Extended exposure to UV rays has been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration and photokeratitis, also known as “eye sunburn,” which can cause temporary vision loss.

Eye Color Matters

Lighter-colored eyes have less pigment to protect against harsh light and UV radiation compared to darker-colored eyes. This means people with light-colored eyes are more susceptible to UV damage. Overexposure to UV light over time can cause irreversible damage to the eyes and lead to macular degeneration and cataracts, which effect a large percentage of people age 75 and older. People who are exposed to too much UV radiation are also at greater risk for developing rare eye cancers such as iris and uveal melanoma.

Protect Your Eyes

No matter what color your eyes are, the fact remains you have to protect your eyes from the sun. Eye doctors recommend wearing sunglasses year-round, and even in overcast or cloudy weather. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your sunglasses:

  • Choose wraparound frames
  • Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV radiation protection
  • Wear a cap or brim hat
  • Limit your time in the sun

Schedule an Eye Exam

Do you have cloudy vision? Schedule an appointment with your optometrist, or email Dr. Mandel, a leading LASIK and cataract surgeon in the San Francisco East Bay Area at mmandel@optimaeyecom.

Sarah Lee shares her successful LASIK experience. Click below to enjoy her video.

Physicians and patients have traveled from all over the world to Mark R. Mandel, MD

If you would like to meet with Dr. Mandel to discuss your personal vision needs, please contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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Practitioner’s Number: 121869

Laser Refractive Surgeries

Laser refractive surgery corrects focusing errors of the eye (e.g., nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) in order to improve visual sharpness and clarity. Procedures include LASIK, laser cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange.


Premium Cataract Surgery

At Optima Eye we offer premium cataract surgery. Patients can opt for laser cataract surgery and / or premium intraocular lens implants, with several options to fit your unique lifestyle.


Complete Eye Care

Dr. Mandel and his team of professionals offer a complete continuum of general eye care services to accommodate every patient’s needs — whether those needs are as simple as a routine eye exam, or as complex as laser vision correction.


Dry Eye Treatment

Dry eye syndrome, which affects more than 100 million people worldwide, can be painful and debilitating. Dr. Mandel uses several approaches to treat dry eye, ranging from medication to punctal plugs.


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Hayward, CA 94541

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San Jose, CA 95128

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Concord, CA 94520
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