Celebration Profiles — March 6-10
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.
Martin S. Banks, PhD
Dr. Martin S. Banks is a vision scientist known for his work on basic and applied aspects of biological vision. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up there and in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Upon graduation, he moved to Germany where he was a school teacher. He returned to the US to obtain a Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and a PhD in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota.
He joined the Psychology faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in 1976. He moved to the School of Optometry at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985. He has received the McCandless Award from the American Psychological Association, Koffka Medal from Giessen University, Prentice Award from the American Academy of Optometry, Schade Prize from the Society for Information Display, and Tillyer Award from the Optical Society of America. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Optical Society, and the American Academy of Optometry. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Justin Kwan, OD, FAAODr. Justin Kwan is a 2009 graduate of Berkeley Optometry and went on to do a contact lens and dry eye residency at Southern California College of Optometry. He taught and saw patients there for eight years, serving as chief of the contact lens, dry eye, and refractive surgery service. In 2018, he moved with his wife, son and daughter to Chicago, joining a private practice.
In 2020, Dr. Kwan transitioned to CooperVision full time in the role of Senior Manager, Myopia Management. He has given over 100 hours of continuing education. Dr. Kwan is the current president of the Chicago North Side Optometric Society, past Editor in Chief of Clinical & Refractive Optometry, past chair of the Fellows Doing Research SIG of the Academy, and a member of the Intrepid Eye Society.
Monroe J. Hirsch, OD, PhD, FAAODr. Monroe J. Hirsch (1917–1982) was born in New York City and graduated from Berkeley Optometry in 1940. From 1940 to 1947 he began his multifaceted career, as an optometrist in Oakland, a clinical instructor at Berkeley Optometry, and a vision science researcher, while also completing graduate study (PhD, 1947) and research in physiology at Stanford University under Hall of Fame member Frank Weymouth.
In 1947 he went to Ohio State University where he was an Assistant Professor. He moved back to California in 1949 when he became an Associate Professor at the Los Angeles College of Optometry (LACO). He left LACO in 1953 (as a full professor) to return to private practice in Ojai, California.
In 1955 became a part time faculty member at Berkeley and then in 1967 Dean Meredith Morgan persuaded him to join the faculty on a more regular basis, so in 1970 he was appointed Director of Clinics and then a full-time faculty appointment in 1971.
Hirsch became Dean of Berkeley Optometry in 1973, serving until 1978 when he retired for health reasons. One of his achievements was to replace the old-style institutionalized methodology of a teaching-clinic with a private practice model. Hirsch’s modular system was based, in his words, on the “basic premise … that students will learn the best practice methods and patients will receive the best care if we simulate as closely as possible the conditions that exist in private professional practice.” The system remains in effect to this day.
Jorge Cuadros, OD, PhDDr. Jorge Cuadros is an optometrist who started his profession in underserved communities in California. The difficulty he faced in finding specialty care for his patients led to a 25 year journey to harness telemedicine to improve access to eye care and blindness prevention. Dr. Cuadros is the founder of EyePACS, a telemedicine program for detecting diabetic eye disease used in over 1000 community health centers providing over 900,000 eye exams. He leads the development of the software and clinical collaboration necessary for EyePACS to provide screening in diverse settings throughout the US and internationally.
His interest in chronic disease and the social, behavioral, and institutional barriers to blindness prevention has led to many invited talks throughout the world. He has served as a consultant for preparing acceptable wording for California Assembly Bills 354, 1224, and 175 that provided a legal framework for teleoptometry in California. He conducts clinical trials on several innovative technologies, such as automated retinal image reading, laser imaging devices, and primary care training programs for expanding access to eye care for everyone.