The optometric and vision care community is mourning the passing of Frank Fontana, O.D., F.A.A.O., who passed away suddenly at the age of 95. Known affectionately in optical as “Uncle Frank,” Fontana stayed active in vision care, even attending Vision Expo West last week.
Services will be held Oct. 13 at the Schrader Funeral Home in Ballwin, MO. In addition, his friends and colleagues are planning a Celebration of Life to honor him. It is currently being planned for Oct. 27 at a location to be announced. EB will update with more information as it becomes available.
An optometrist for 69 years, Dr. Fontana owned Fontana Eyecare Associates in St. Louis, MO.
He started his practice in 1950 and specialized in and is a pioneer in fitting contact lenses. Throughout his career, he was involved with clinical investigations, consulting, writing, and lecturing. Since 1999, he had more than 160 speaking engagements in the U.S. and abroad, including Italy and Argentina.
In a filmed interview for the VSP blog he said the introduction of contact lenses was a pivotal moment in optometry—even though it was a new concept at the time.
“We’d put a lens on a person’s eye and say a silent Hail Mary that we could get it back out. Holy smokes!” he says in the video.
Fontana became one of the pioneers in the contact lens arena.
His service to the American Optometric Association (AOA) includes serving as chair of the AOA's Contact Lens Committee from 1979-1981, co-founder of the AOA's Contact Lens Section in 1981, a member of the communications committee from 1985-1986, and a member of Optometry's Meeting Exhibit's committee from 1999-2010
Dr. Fontana was also the chair of the Third Party Committee for the Missouri Optometric Association and an optometric examiner for the Federal Trade Commission. In addition, he served on the forming board of directors for the Heart of America Contact Lens Society in 1961 and remained an active member until his death.
Dr. Fontana was a 1949 graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry. He was educated through the G.I. bill after serving in the U.S. Army for three years including 28 months of overseas duty in the European Theater of Operation.