It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Tony Adams, who died peacefully, with family at his side, last Friday evening. Tony, who served as dean of Berkeley Optometry from 1992 to 2001, was the quintessential academic optometrist; he confronted and removed barriers, won numerous awards, and served selflessly in positions of leadership. Tony’s influence was extraordinary. He, along with his life partner Elna, who passed earlier this year, mentored and inspired generations of students, academics, future leaders and change makers.
Adams’ contributions to the profession include service as Chair of the Committee on Vision of the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council (1985–88). He issued a report titled “Myopia, Progression and Prevalence” in 1987, directed at late-onset myopia, which drew national attention and slowly changed attitudes at the National Eye Institute, which had no interest in human myopia at the time. It helped lead indirectly to Adams’ highly regarded Orinda Longitudinal Study of Myopia in 1992 with his PhD students Donald Mutti and Karla Zadnik, The clinical data on 900 students in the Orinda School District was the most extensive longitudinal study of myopia ever undertaken.
Tony Adams’ accolades include President, American Academy of Optometry (1998); Distinguished Practitioner, National Academies of Practice in Optometry (1998); President, National Board of Examiners in Optometry (1985–87); honorary doctorates from Indiana University (2011), State University of New York (1999) and Pennsylvania College of Optometry (2001); Paul Yarwood Memorial Award (2003); Prentice Medal (2003) and Eminent Service Award (2004), American Academy of Optometry; H. B. Collin Research Medal (2012); California Optometry Educator of the Year (2004); National Optometry Hall of Fame (2004); President, American Optometric Foundation (2008); and the American Academy of Optometry Life Fellowship Award (2016).
In 2014 he was inducted into the Berkeley Optometry Hall of Fame, and last year he received the inaugural UC Berkeley School of Optometry Tony Adams Lifetime Achievement Award for his impressive, important and enduring accomplishments to the school and the profession.
He will be missed.