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Optometry Farewells

Rick Van Sluyter speaking at his retirement party.
Two people at Wayne Verdon's retirement party.
Four women at Wayne Verdon's retirement party.
Rick Van Sluyter at his retirement party.

This summer Berkeley Optometry is saying a fond farewell to some of our favorite colleagues.  Retiring this summer are: Dr. Rick Van Sluyters, Dr. Wayne Verdon, Dr. Darlene Fong, Dr. Jeffrey Ko, Dr. Chuck Bailey, and Patient Services Supervisor Theresa Bertero.

Dr. Rick Van Sluyters

Dr Van Sluyters is a third-generation optometrist, and received his undergraduate education at Michigan State University, where he was awarded the OD degree with honors from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1968. He received his PhD degree in Vision Science from Indiana University in 1972. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at The Physiological Laboratory, Cambridge University, England, Dr. Van Sluyters joined the faculty of the School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley in 1975.

Dr. Van Sluyters is Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, and served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Berkeley Optometry for 16 years. He has served as Faculty Chair in Optometry and Faculty Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research at Berkeley. He has been an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and a Miller Institute for Basic Research Fellow. He was awarded the Biomedical Research Leadership Award from the California Society for Biomedical Research (CBRA) and, for contributions that go beyond the call of duty and achievements that exceed the standards of excellence in his field, The Berkeley Citation from the Chancellor.

Dr. Van Sluyters has served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Council of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), and been invited to present expert testimony before the California State Assembly and the US House of Representatives. He has chaired CBRA’s Board of Directors and been a member of the boards for the National Association for Biomedical Research and Americans for Medical Progress.

Dr. Van Sluyters has received research grants from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and U.C. Berkeley. He was a founding member of the Editorial Boards for Visual Neuroscience and ILAR Journal, and has authored over sixty research papers published in scientific and professional journals. He has spoken at hundreds of workshops, conferences, seminars and meetings of professional and scientific societies around the world.

Happy retirement Rick! Congrats on a great career!

Dr. Wayne Verdon

Wayne has been faculty for the past 24 years, but his long association with Berkeley Optometry started 12 years prior in 1983 when he arrived from the UK to work on his PhD with Emeritus Dean Adams.

Dr. Wayne Verdon received his Doctor of Optometry from the School of Optometry at the University of Cardiff, Wales, UK in 1978 and after practicing as an optometrist for a few years, he came to the US to work on a PhD in Physiological Optics with Tony Adams in 1983 through 1988.

The title of his PhD thesis was Visual Psychophysics of the human SWS pathways. He then worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Gunilla Haegerstrom-Portnoy from 1988 to 1992 also in the area of color vision.

He accepted a position as Assistant Research Professor at Jules Stein Eye Institute in Southern California in 1992 and become Assistant Professor in Residence of Ophthalmology at Jules Stein Institute in the Department of Ophthalmology, UCLA School of Medicine in 1994. He worked in clinical electrophysiology with unusual patients at UCLA.

In 1995, he returned to UCB as assistant clinical professor and became Chief of the Electrodiagnosis and Vision Functions Clinic. He also taught in the didactic program.

In 1999, he was appointed to the Professor of Clinical Optometry series where he is now Professor of Clinical Optometry. Throughout his career, he has been an outstanding clinician and teacher.

We wish Wayne joy and happiness in retirement, great thanks for his exceptional contributions to the School, and very best wishes on his move to Colorado.

Dr. Darlene Fong

Darlene graduated from Berkeley Optometry in 1988 and was appointed to the clinical faculty in 1990 following a few years of private practice. In the early days, she taught both in the clinic and in the pre-clinic (as well as other BV courses) but the last 20 years or so she has been the instructor in charge for Opt 200C as well as a pre-clinic laboratory instructor for that course AND the other 3 pre-clinic courses.

She has taught every academic year for 29 years and has influenced a large number of students — estimated at 8,900!!

For many years while teaching at the school, she practiced at Kaiser Oakland (and still does). She has a special expertise in binocular vision anomalies. She says she developed an interest in BV during optometry school when she learned that she had an intermittent strabismus. This explained the eyestrain and intermittent double vision that she had been experiencing ever since childhood!

Congratulations on your retirement from Berkeley Optometry Darlene! We wish you the very best!

Dr. Chuck Bailey

Chuck Bailey graduated from UC Berkeley School of Optometry in 1982 following a career in business. He was appointed part time to the clinical faculty in 1983. He taught within the contact lens course as well as in the contact lens clinic. He successfully ran a private practice in St. Helena, CA. For several years, he served as Chair of Clinic Computer Systems for the school, and he directed the development of the computer systems for the clinical and business records for the clinic. He continued to teach in the contact lens clinic and became an expert in advanced contact lenses. In 2004, after 22 years in practice, he sold his private practice and became a full time clinical faculty member. Soon thereafter, he also became the instructor in charge of the two business courses.

Chuck retired from the school in June 2011 as Associate Clinical Professor. He graciously agreed to a recall appointment to continue the didactic teaching in the business courses and he has taught 8 more years since his retirement! Chuck and his wife lost their house in the Paradise fire and they are building a new house this summer in Alaska close to their son and grandchildren. We want to say many thanks to Chuck for 37 years of dedicated teaching and service to Berkeley Optometry and good luck in your new adventure.

Dr. Jeffrey Ko

Dr. Ko graduated from Berkeley Optometry in 1973, and has taught in the clinic for over 40 years, where he ran the Ko Clinic (which emphasized efficiency) in module C. For many years for one day each summer, Dr. Ko gave a mini-tour to students (1st through 7th graders) from the Hip Wah Summer Camp program. This camp provides Bay Area children the opportunity to experience and appreciate the heritage of Chinese and Chinese-American people. From 1995 to 2015, he and his wife, Mrs. Cynthia Ko, kindly provided the clinic staff with a lunch every summer, which they cooked themselves for the staff to enjoy. Thank you Dr. Ko for your years of service to Berkeley Optometry!

Theresa Bertero

Theresa has been at Berkeley Optometry for 33 years and will retire at the end of this month. She is currently the Patient Services Supervisor. She has always been supportive of the front desk and clinic staff and doctors and is one of the most knowledgeable staff members on insurance plans, billing, scheduling and overall front desk operations. She helped the clinic tremendously to recruit and schedule patients for the glaucoma certification programs. “We really could not pull off the programs without the patients and Theresa was crucial in patient recruitment and retention,” says Dr. Vikki Yu. Thank you for your years of service Theresa! And best of luck in your retirement! We will miss you!

Dr. Dennis Burger

Dr. Burger graduated from UC Berkeley School of Optometry in 1968. Since graduation, he worked as an optometrist with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. He was appointed part-time faculty at UCB in 1980 and became Clinical Professor in 1998. After his retirement from Kaiser in June 2009, he increased his percentage at UCB to 60%. He has been teaching in the contact lens clinic each year concentrating on more advanced contact lenses. Dr. Burger is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the field of contact lenses, particularly contact lenses for ocular diseases such as keratoconus and other complex corneal disorders. Thank you for your many years of service to Berkeley Optometry and we wish you all the best in your retirement!