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To Our Valued Patients,

With the evolving situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and under the guidelines of the Health Officer of the Alameda and Contra-Costa Counties, our offices are open to provide eye and vision care.

Please keep in mind that in order to maintain social distancing protocols and to limit further transmission of the virus, we will be working with a reduced staff and seeing a fewer number of patients as compared to our “normal” schedule. Priority will be given to the most urgent medical cases. We will be implementing a number of measures (including altered check-in/check-out procedures, limiting the number of patients in the office and waiting room, face covering for all persons, temperature screening, etc) that will change your experience in the office. In addition, we will be ramping up our already strict disinfection policies and we will continue to monitor and abide by all local, state and, federal guidelines. Please bear with us through this new reality as these changes are designed to protect you and our staff.

We hope to see you soon and appreciate your trust in us to continue to meet your eye care needs. Stay safe and stay healthy!

The Turner Eye Institute Team

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The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you. 

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts. 

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes. 

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens. 

Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you. 

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable. 

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro to book your contact lens eye exam today!

What Is 20/20 Vision?

If your last eye exam revealed that you have 20/20 vision, you probably walked out of the eye care center with a big smile! It’s a great feeling to be able to see without eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, did you know that 20/20 vision is not the same as having perfect vision? So what is it?

At Turner Eye Institute, when Dr. Chirag R. Patel announces the results of your eye exam, he is reporting on your visual acuity, which is the clarity of your eyesight. These numbers describe how well your eyes can see an object that’s 20 feet away. If you can see it clearly, then your vision is considered “normal” – but not “perfect.” That’s because even if you have 20/20 vision, you could still have problems with peripheral vision, color vision, eye coordination, focusing, or depth perception. To find out your visual acuity and total eye health, book an eye exam with our San Leandro, California, optometrist near you.

How does my eye doctor test visual acuity?

Typically, every eye exam and vision screening includes having you read the Snellen Eye Chart. This diagnostic tool appears as lines of block letters and numbers printed in progressively smaller sizes. The first line will display one huge letter, such as an “E”, and as you move down the chart row by row, the letters get smaller, and there are more of them per line. The lower down on the chart you can read correctly, the closer you are to being diagnosed with 20/20 vision. The bottom row (eight down) is 20/20 vision.

What if I don’t have 20/20 vision?

Don’t worry, you’re in good company! Statistics say that almost half of US adults don’t have 20/20 vision.

Depending on what your visual acuity is, you may need vision correction with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or LASIK refractive surgery, to help you achieve 20/20 vision, or close to it. But not everyone can get to 20/20 – even with corrective treatment. In other words, some people can only see at 60 feet what others with normal vision can see at 20 feet (=20/60 vision). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t see well enough to function. For example:

  • If our eye care professional detects that you have 20/40 vision, it’s still enough to get a driver’s license.
  • If you have 20/80 vision, you should still be able to read headlines in a newspaper and tell the time on an alarm clock placed 10 feet away.
  • If your visual acuity deteriorates to 20/200 vision, you’ll be classified as legally blind.

Can I have better than 20/20 vision?

Sure, especially if you’re a bird of prey! Falcons see about eight times better than humans, with a visual acuity of about 20/2. All jokes aside, even humans can have vision that’s sharper than 20/20, such as 20/15. That means you can back up five feet during your eye exam and still read the Snellen eye chart the same as a person with normal vision standing five feet closer to the chart.

Why do I need good vision?

There are lots of reasons why it’s smart to invest in good vision by visiting our San Leandro eye care center near you for regular eye exams. Don’t underestimate the value of sharp, healthy vision in your life! Here are a few important benefits of 20/20 vision:

  • Reading with ease: reading is essential for day-to-day life, whether you read the newspaper, your smartphone, documents at work, letters and bills, or just want to enjoy a good novel.
  • Comfort: without sharp vision, you’ll need to squint all the time, leading to headaches and muscle strain.
  • Safety: activities such as driving and biking become extremely hazardous if you can’t see. Even if you’re just taking a walk, having sharp visual acuity will help prevent you from tripping and falling.
  • Quality of life: clear eyesight goes far towards your quality of life! Without sharp vision, who knows what scenes and wonderful moments you’ll miss out on?

At Turner Eye Institute, we’ll help you to see the best that you can see! Contact our San Leandro, California, optometrist to schedule an eye exam near you today.

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

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3 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to get eye diseases than those without it? There are three major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk for developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it’s important to control your blood sugar level and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.

But First, What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that is associated with high blood glucose levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps our cells get energy from the sugars we eat. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t produce or respond to insulin effectively, leaving too much sugar in the blood stream instead. Over time, diabetes can lead to potentially irreversible ocular damage and poor eyesight. However, by taking care of your blood sugar levels and your eyes, you can prevent vision loss.

Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone, but routine screenings are even more important for diabetics. Eye doctors may send diabetic eye health reports to a patient’s primary care physician or internist to adjust medication as needed to prevent complications.

What’s the Link Between Vision and Diabetes?

Blurred vision or fluctuating eyesight clarity is often one of the first noticeable signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Sometimes, fluid leaking into the eye causes the lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in fuzzy vision. Such symptoms can indicate that an eye disease is developing, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels.

If you start to notice blurry vision, make an appointment with Dr. Chirag R. Patel as soon as possible.

The 3 Ways Diabetes Impacts Vision

Cataracts

While cataracts are extremely common and a part of the natural aging process, those with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier in life. Characterized by a clouding or fogging of the lens within the eye, cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision and glares. The best treatment is cataract surgery, which is very safe and effective.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage. Since it tends to impact peripheral vision first, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. However, routine glaucoma screenings can detect warning signs; early treatment can prevent disease progression and vision loss.

Although there is no true cure for glaucoma, most glaucoma patients successfully manage it with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels on your retina (capillaries) become weakened and then balloon (microaneurysm) due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The resulting poor blood circulation in the back of the eye causes more abnormal blood vessels to grow, which also bleed or leak fluid, and can lead to scar tissue, retinal detachment and even blindness, over time.

Often there are no symptoms until the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, where patients may begin to see spots and missing patches in their vision. Retinopathy can be treated through surgery and eye injections, but the best way to prevent this disease from progressing is to regularly have your eyes screened.

The good news is that diabetic eye disease can often be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and regular diabetic eye exams. Contact Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro to set up your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Can an Eye Exam Reveal Your Risk for Alzheimer’s?

It’s typical to worry about the health of your brain. Every time you forget a name or can’t remember where you put your keys, you may wonder if it means something. Usually, these forgetful moments are just an indication that you’re tired or preoccupied. So are there any genuine clues that point to information about your brain health?

It’s possible that the results of your eye exam could provide these clues. See this as another important reason to book an eye exam at Turner Eye Institute – we have eye care centers located conveniently in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, California.

Recent research on detecting Alzheimer’s

Despite so many advances in medical technology, an affordable, dependable test for Alzheimer’s is still missing. However, recent studies and $30 million from Bill Gates may change the situation. In October 2019, a Toronto startup licensed researchers at the University of Minnesota to develop a technology to spot the early signs or predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease by using retinal scans and digital eye exams. Where did this idea come from?

The concept of eye exams as a diagnostic tool for dementia comes from recent studies that have associated common eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

The link between eye conditions and cardiovascular disease

In an interesting twist, cataracts are one eye disease that has shown no link to Alzheimer’s, and scientists believe it’s because cataracts are not connected in any way to cardiovascular disease, in contrast to the other eye diseases:

  • Glaucoma, which involves higher-than-normal intraocular pressure, has been associated with poor blood circulation, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Age-related macular degeneration, another common ocular disease, has links with heart disease.
  • Diabetic retinopathy occurs as the result of damage caused to the retina by high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In general, diabetes and cardiovascular problems are strongly connected.

Eye disease & Alzheimer’s

In 1994, a study called “The Adult Changes in Thought,” was initiated and included 5,400 adults who were dementia-free. The study participants were monitored until they died, developed dementia, or chose to leave the study. In 2019, results of the study were analyzed and published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia. It was discovered that:

  • People with age-related macular degeneration were 20% more likely to develop dementia than people without this eye disease.
  • People with a recent diagnosis of glaucoma had a 44% higher rate of dementia.

Other studies presented at the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in 2018, suggested that the early signs of Alzheimer’s can be detected by an eye exam before the patient is exhibiting any symptoms of the brain disease. How? OCT scans revealed that people with Alzheimer’s had thinner retinal tissue with fewer blood vessels than people with healthy brains. tissue. These findings may enable earlier treatment intervention for people at a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Eye exams as a way to predict and prevent dementia

Now that research has established a possible link between eye disease and brain health, the question remains – what can you learn from this information? The way we see it, these results underscore the need for everyone to get regular eye exams. Retinal scans and digital eye exams, which can evaluate blood flow patterns in the eye, can reveal a lot about your overall health – in addition to inspecting for the signs of ocular conditions that require treatment.

In our eye care centers in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, California, we use the latest technologies, including advanced digital eye exams that provide highly precise results. If an ocular disease is suspected, we may perform a retinal scan to obtain a clearer, more detailed view of your inner eye tissues.

When our eye doctors perform a digital eye exam or retinal scan, we see much more than just the state of your vision. The signs of a health condition, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension, are often apparent. If we detect these signs, we will recommend lifestyle changes and therapies to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. For example, treating high blood pressure, lowering elevated cholesterol levels, eating nutritiously, sleeping enough, and exercising can all lower your chances of heart disease – which may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s too.

So while eye exams as a reliable tool for predicting or diagnosing Alzheimer’s may still be five to ten years away, your health still has a lot to gain from visiting our eye doctor in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, California, for a comprehensive eye exam!


At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Mental Health and Your Vision

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Your Eyes Are the Windows to Your Health

Your eyes aren’t just the windows to your soul — they can also reveal valuable information about your general health beyond whether you need glasses, including: diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It is not unusual for people to come in for an eye exam just to check their eyesight and then have certain health issues or predispositions picked up by the optometrist. 

Eye Exams and Your Health

Eye examinations can help doctors detect general health conditions early enough to intervene. Advanced screenings enable eye doctors to better predict cardiovascular incidents like stroke, and possibly detect signs of mental changes such as Alzheimer’s. Read below to learn how eye exams can unveil a whole lot more than just eye health.

Brain Cancer & Stroke

Because of the similarities between the blood vessels in the eye and brain, an eye doctor can occasionally detect an issue taking place in the brain by examining the blood vessels in the eyes. If swelling or shadows in the eye is observed, it may indicate a serious condition in the brain, like a tumor, or clots that might result in a stroke.

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). If an optometrist detects leaky blood vessels in the eye, the patient would be advised to see a doctor to help control their blood sugar. Changes are gradual, and they start before visual symptoms are noticed. The earlier diabetic eye disease is managed, the better the chances are of preserving eyesight. 

Hypertension

High blood pressure, characterized by having too much pressure in the blood vessels, can be detected during an eye exam, sometimes even before it’s diagnosed by your regular doctor. The damaged blood vessels lead to swelling, hemorrhages, and leaking — all of which can be observed in the eyes. According to the CDC, hypertension “the silent killer” affects nearly 1 in 3 adults, and up to a whopping 20% of those don’t even know they have it. So early detection at an eye doctor’s evaluation can be truly life-saving.

High Cholesterol 

Eye exams can also detect a buildup of cholesterol. High cholesterol is among the easiest conditions to spot during a complete eye exam, as the cholesterol deposits manifest on the front of the eye, appearing as a thin, gray rim around the cornea. It can also be detected in the retina by assessing artery and vein patterns.

These deposits may indicate the current or future development of Retinal Blood Vessel Occlusion, a condition where blockages restrict blood flow to the back of the eye, causing temporary or permanent vision loss. 

Heart Conditions

In some cases, heart conditions associated with a buildup of plaque in the carotid artery in the heart can also lead to deposits that clog the ocular arteries in the eye. If an optometrist detects such changes to the vascular structure at the back of the eye, he or she will typically recommend going to a specialist.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Sudden vision loss may be attributed to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While the optometrist can recognize signs indicating the presence of MS, such as the color and appearance of the optic nerve, such cases will be referred for further testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Thyroid

Thyroid disease can make itself apparent through the eyes in several ways. The thyroid gland controls the hormones that regulate tear production so some thyroid disorders can cause dry eye disease. Additionally, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can make the extraocular muscles enlarge and stiffen, causing bulging eyes — an indicator of Graves’ disease. 

Inflammation

Systemic conditions that are associated with inflammation in the body can have an inflammatory effect on the eyes. Uveitis, for example, causes eye inflammation, redness, and blurred vision, and tends to occur in people with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. 

Cancer

Breast cancer, leukemia, and other metastatic cancers are occasionally discovered during an eye evaluation. In addition to brain cancer mentioned above, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) can be detected, and eye doctors can also diagnose lymphoma and other eye tumors. Eye exams save lives.

What the Future Holds 

Alzheimer’s 

Recent studies show that a non-invasive and precise imaging device called Octa (optical coherence tomography angiography) can signal the presence of eye changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Because the retina is in many ways an extension of the brain, the altered blood vessels at the back of the eye offer a glimpse into the changes taking place within the brain.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease can often be misdiagnosed as its early symptoms are characteristic of other conditions. Research has shown that subtle eye tremors, an early Parkinson’s marker, could be detectable using advanced eye exam technology. One day soon, practitioners may send patients to an eye doctor to test for this and other diseases.

Your Eye Doctor’s Appointment Could Change Your Life

So the next time you visit Dr. Chirag R. Patel at Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro, remember that a comprehensive eye exam can do more than determine your eyeglasses or contacts prescription. Dr. Chirag R. Patel can evaluate your eyes for existing or potential health issues, and communicate them to your primary care physician for the best possible care. By knowing that you’re at risk for a certain disease, you can take precautions early on and manage the condition as needed. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What to Expect When Recovering from LASIK

Your Eye Doctor in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley explains

LASIK is considered one of the safest elective surgeries and performed widely around the world. It’s also a popular method of vision correction for our eye care patients at Turner Eye Institute, in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley. Our eye surgeons offer LASIK in the comfort of our eye care clinics, making it very convenient for you to benefit from this laser eye surgery!

One question that we hear all the time is – what’s the LASIK recovery? Read on for a full discussion of what to expect after LASIK.

How will I feel immediately after LASIK?

To answer clearly, let’s begin with a review of the LASIK procedure. First, your eye surgeon will use a specialized tool to fold back the surface layer of the cornea. Then, a computer-assisted laser will be used to reshape the inner part of your eye before the corneal flap is returned to its original position. Now, all that’s left is for your eye to heal.

During the first 24 hours after LASIK, the flap will reseal. Many people feel absolutely nothing during this part of the healing process, while others experience mild eye pain and irritation or a gritty sensation in their eyes. Other possible short-lived side effects include blurry vision and light sensitivity.

What is the eye care immediately after LASIK?

After you have LASIK in our eye care clinic in San Leandro, Concord, or Castro Valley, you will not be able to drive yourself home. So you’ll need to arrange transportation.

Usually, patients need to rest for a few hours after the laser eye procedure. To prevent you from rubbing your eyes, we may also advise you to wear an eye shield for a few days, especially while sleeping. We may also prescribe eye drops to help prevent infection and swelling. Even if your vision is not crystal-clear yet, you will not be able to wear contact lenses.

Your eye doctor at Turner Eye Institute will generally perform an eye exam to check your healing within 24-48 hours after LASIK.

How long does it take for the full LASIK recovery?

Most people enjoy 20/20 vision within one to two days after LASIK, although some people must wait a few weeks to obtain their best vision. Gradually over the next six months, healthy tissue will continue to grow around the corneal flap, sealing it fully into place. Once that occurs, the entire LASIK recovery is done.

During those six months, vision fluctuations are normal. You may also need to refrain from participating in any high impact activities that could interfere with healing, or you’ll need to wear safety goggles to protect against eye trauma.

We will give you instructions about when to visit for follow-up exams in our San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley offices. These appointments are very important for your long-term vision.

Learn more about LASIK – contact us at Turner Eye Institute

LASIK can change your life! Typically, our patients are exhilarated by the vision results and their quick, smooth recovery. Every patient is different, but most people report feeling back to themselves within one or two days after the laser eye surgery. Contact our eye doctor to book a consultation and eye exam to find out if you’re a good candidate for LASIK.

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

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Blade LASIK vs. Blade-free LASIK – Which Is Right For You?

LASIK has become a common household term, especially among people who are considering laser eye surgery for vision correction. But iLASIK is not as familiar a name. What is this modern method of laser vision correction? What are the differences between LASIK versus iLASIK?

Just as all technology has advanced significantly in recent years, so has LASIK. As eye surgeons become trained in the latest cutting-edge techniques, they can offer a wider range of safe and efficient procedures. At Turner Eye Institute, our eye surgeons use state-of-the-art technologies to perform various types of laser eye surgeries in our eye care centers in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley.

Our eye doctor explains the basic differences between LASIK and iLASIK:

LASIK

LASIK Surgery is one type of refractive surgery that works to improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. During this surgery, the surgeon creates a thin flap in the cornea and folds it back, enabling access to the cornea so it can be reshaped to correct the vision problems. To make the flap, a microkeratome blade is used to slice a thin layer of the cornea. Afterwards, an excimer laser is used to remove and sculpt the cornea before the flap is returned to its original position, where it heals.

iLASIK

iLASIK is a customized, bladeless method of refractive surgery, meaning that every procedure considers the unique microscopic differences of each eye and no blades are used.

The first step of iLASIK is to create a 3D map of the eye, which uses wavefront-guided eye-mapping to identify the problems and imperfections. The imaging is painless and enables the surgeon to perform a custom-fit procedure.

In the second part of this procedure, a femtosecond laser (with high frequency pulses of laser light) is used to create the corneal flap. Then, the cornea is reshaped with a guided excimer laser. The flap is then folded back into place to heal.

iLASIK versus LASIK – A Review of the Differences

  • Bladed vs. blade-free: although there are inherent risks involved with both LASIK and iLASIK, the incidence of complications is higher with LASIK. Primarily, this is due to problems with the flap because of the way it was cut with a blade. iLASIK is entirely bladeless.
  • Custom-designed procedure: iLASIK accounts for the fact that every eye is distinct and may need a different corrective approach. The 3D tracking used with iLASIK leads to a more precisely-made corneal flap that matches your eyeball’s characteristics and dimensions.
  • Visual outcome: the wavefront mapping done with iLASIK helps to provide your eye surgeon with highly specific, personalized recommendations that can lead to more accurate visual results.

Which is right for your eyes – iLASIK or LASIK?

Both of these types of laser eye surgery are regarded to be safe and effective. To decide which method is right for you, you need to consult with our eye doctors in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley. After a comprehensive eye exam and evaluation of your ocular condition, we will explain both procedures to you and made an individualized recommendation.

Ophthalmologists are continually exploring ways to improve laser eye surgery outcomes. Contact our experts at Turner Eye Institute to book an eye exam and learn all about the latest vision correction procedures and which one is a good match for you.

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

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