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In honor of our centennial anniversary, we are featuring members of our optometry community — past and present — each day of 2023!

See below for this week’s profiles.

This Week, We Are Celebrating…

July 31st

Brenda Espinoza

Brenda Espinoza is an optician and has been part of UC Berkeley School of Optometry since 2001. She has been in optometry since she was a teenager; she is bilingual and was trained by Dr. Michael Matthews, one of our alums. Brenda is a direct patient care optician, and works closely with the doctors from the Special Visual Assessment Clinic (SVACH), Low Vision, and Binocular Vision clinics. She helps with children eyewear, fabricating glasses for children’s bridges, and is known as “the baby whisperer.” Brenda loves to help patients with their glasses!

August 1st

Frank W. Weymouth, AM, PhD, FAAO

Frank Weymouth (1884–1963) was born in Seattle, Washington and is a Berkeley Optometry & Vision Science Hall of Fame member. He had both public school education and home schooling. During his many pack-trips on Mount Rainier, he developed an interest in wildlife and biology. After 21 years in the northwest, he came to California and entered Stanford University. Aside from one year at Johns Hopkins University, he remained at Stanford, first as a zoology student, and then as a faculty member in the physiology department until he retired in 1949. As an undergraduate he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1911 he received an AM degree in zoology and in 1932 his PhD.

Dr. Weymouth was an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor (1931), and subsequently became Chair of the Department of Physiology (1938). His first eight research papers, starting in 1910, were on various aspects of marine biology, most on west coast crabs. As a contributor to the Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission, his study of razor clams and shellfish along the entire Pacific Coast, from California to Alaska, helped establish fishing regulations. In 1931 to 1935 he studied Gulf shrimp, working out of New Orleans. His interest in vision problems was aroused when he spent 1912 as an assistant in physiology with the ophthalmologist Samual Theobald at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

Weymouth’s first paper on vision, “Refractive differences in foveal and parafoveal vision” (with D. Ogata; American Journal Ophthalmology) appeared in 1918. Subsequently more than half of his 75 publications, including book chapters, were on marine biology, with the remainder on vision. Those later papers reflected his interests in binocular vision and distance discrimination, among other topics. During World War II, with funds from the Office of Science and Development and the Air Material Command, Weymouth established the Stanford Vision Laboratory in 1944, serving as its director until 1949.

Dr. Weymouth was a significant figure in the life of Berkeley Optometry’s fourth dean (and Hall of Fame member) Monroe Hirsch. “Uncle Frank” chaired Hirsch’s PhD committee when they worked together on depth perception; later they investigated the development of ametropia. Weymouth remained a mentor and friend throughout Hirsch’s career. He also collaborated with Hall of Fame member Merton Flom; they found that many strabismic amblyopic eyes had two retinal fixing points (eccentric fixation locus and fovea).

After spending a long and fruitful career at Stanford, Dr. Weymouth “retired” in 1949. Looking for a place to continue his research on vision, Dr. Weymouth joined the staff at the Los Angeles College of Optometry (later the Southern California College of Optometry), where he taught psychophysiological optics and statistics (1949–60). While in Los Angeles Weymouth was involved in the Committee for Medical Freedom, which was formed to object to the dismissal of three doctors from the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital during the McCarthy era in 1951. In 1960 Weymouth “retired” again and came to the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry, where as a Research Physiological Opticist he engaged in research on growth of the eye, myopia, visual resolution, anomalous retinal correspondence, and, just before his death, amblyopia and fixation tremor. He also lectured and consulted with students.

Dr. Weymouth’s many honors include an honorary degree from the Los Angeles College of Optometry, honorary fellow of the Southern California Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry, an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and the election to the National Biometric Society. The American Academy of Optometry established the Frank W. Weymouth Student Travel Fellowship for students attending scientific meetings. Dr. Weymouth died in 1963.

August 2nd

Vickie Kuo, BS

Vickie Kuo is currently a second year optometry student and serves as the Class of 2026 Co-Vice President and UCOSA Philanthropy Co-Chair. She graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelors of Science in Human Biology and a minor in Law and Society. She is also involved in Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH), and regularly volunteers at the East Bay Center for the Blind, California Lions Friends in Sight clinics, and Healing California clinics.

Vickie is passionate about reducing the inequities in healthcare and using education and writing as avenues of empowerment. She hopes to pursue a residency in the future in Ocular Disease or Low Vision. In her spare time, she enjoys long distance running, taking care of her guinea pigs, and solving mysteries at escape rooms.

August 3rd

Thomas H. Peters, OD

Thomas Peters (1886–1956) is a Berkeley Optometry & Vision Science Hall of Fame member. He was born in Oakland, California, of Irish immigrant parents. He began his working life as a jewelry maker for Shreve and Company in San Francisco. In 1916 Peters decided to study optometry while continuing to work as a jeweler, by that time in Oakland, taking night courses and graduating from the privately run California College of Optometry in San Francisco. Dr. Peters soon became a widely respected optometrist, and by 1927 he was elected president of the Alameda Contra Costa Counties Association of Optometrists.

By the mid 1930s, Peters’ leadership in organized optometry was in great demand. His son Henry [Class of ’38 and Hall of Fame charter member] recalled that his father “served as Director of Legislative Activities for the … [California State Association of Optometrists, CSAO]—for five years [1933–38], conducting much of the business of the [CSAO] … out of an attic room in our home [in Oakland] or on the Sacramento Shortline train to the State Capital. Many a night I have awakened to hear the tat-tat-tat of his typewriter in the wee small hours.” Peters went on to serve as president of the CSAO for two consecutive terms in 1939–40.

Dr. Peters role in the early history of Berkeley Optometry is legendary. As chair of the CSAO’s Optometry Building Fund Committee in 1940–48, Peters led the effort to raise funds from licensed optometrists throughout California, and in May 1941 met the target he negotiated with the University — $80,000 in matching funds. These and other efforts resulted in new facilities (the Optometry Building, later called Minor Hall), thereby winning a more secure status for optometry not only on the Berkeley campus but, symbolically, for the profession nationwide.
Many years later, Dean Emeritus Meredith Morgan recalled Peters’ contributions to the School and the profession:

“I remember him as one of the busiest, best organized, warm, friendly, straightforward persons I have ever known. He was a consummate politician in the best sense…. Tom Peters did the most to help Ralph Minor convince [UC president] Robert Gordon Sproul … that Optometry should have a building…. Sproul … said OK … providing Optometry raised the first half of the estimated $160,000. For the next several years, Tom Peters, Ralph Minor … toured the state beating the optometry bushes for the necessary funds. Unfortunately, World War II intervened, and … the cost of the building had risen…. This was a challenge to Tom Peters, rather than an insurmountable obstacle…. Tom then … almost single-handedly got the legislature to approve an appropriation of $300,000 for an Optometry building…. Tom is gone in person but not from the hearts of those of us who knew him. Optometry lives on stronger because he lived and dedicated himself to his profession….”

Upon the dedication of the Optometry Building in 1948, Dean Emeritus Ralph Minor wrote: “Once more the most outstanding optometrist in the United States has fired with enthusiasm diverse and stubborn elements to make and mark another milestone in the progress of Optometry. The building is a memorial of your courage, insight and keen judgment. Sir, I salute you.”

During the negotiations for the Optometry Building, Peters also wrested from President Sproul a promise, in 1946, to have the University, for the first time, fully fund the optometry program, which until then had been supported exclusively by optometry state license fees. This pledge was honored by Sproul in 1948.

In 1952 Dr. Peters was awarded an honorary membership in the Optometry Alumni Association of UC. Soon after his death, Berkeley Optometry endowed the annual “Thomas H. Peters Memorial Lecture” in his honor. Dr. Peters died in 1956.

August 4th

Hany Farid, PhD

Dr. Hany Farid is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley with a joint appointment in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences and the School of Information. He is also a member of the Vision Science Graduate Group at the School of Optometry & Vision Science, and was featured in an article in the Berkeley Optometry Magazine. His research focuses on digital forensics, forensic science, misinformation, image analysis, and human perception. He received my undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from the University of Rochester in 1989, his M.S. in Computer Science from SUNY Albany in 1992, and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. Following a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Dr. Farid joined the faculty at Dartmouth College in 1999 where he remained until 2019. He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Hear Dr. Farid discuss deepfake technology in a podcast, by clicking the button below!

Deepfakes with Dr. Farid
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