Rodger T. Kame, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Founder, Los Angeles EyeCare-Optometry Group
Dr. Rodger T. Kame was born on September 23, 1938, in East Los Angeles. He had 4 brothers and 1 sister. While growing up he attended University High School in Los Angeles. After his graduation, he went on to Santa Monica College and then the Los Angeles College of Optometry (now called the Southern California College of Optometry, or, S.C.C.O.) where he graduated with both a Bachelor’s of Science and a Doctor of Optometry degree in 1962. He served in the United States Air Force as a 1st Lieutenant in the Biomedical Science Corps as an optometrist from 1962 to 1965. In 1965 he was honorably discharged from service. Then in 1966, he accepted the opportunity to continue the practice left by Dr. Art Sugino.
Since 1971 he has served on the faculty of his alma mater of S.C.C.O. as an adjunct associate professor. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for S.C.C.O. for the past 6 years and most recently served as a member of its Executive Committee. Prior to his passing, he was elected to be the next chairman of the Board of Trustees. In 1975 he served as president of the Los Angeles County Optometric Society, the country’s largest optometric organization. He was the 1993-94 chairman of the Optometric Association and the 1987-89 chairman of the American Academy of Optometry’s Section on Cornea and Contact Lenses, one of only two individuals to have served both positions.
Dr. Kame has received numerous honors for his outstanding contributions to the profession. Among them, he was named Los Angeles County’s “Optometrist of the Year” recipient in 1978, the Heart of America Contact Lens Society’s “National Vision Service Award” recipient in 1984, the Max Shapero Memorial Lecture Award recipient in 1997 and the American Optometric Association’s Contact Lens Sections Achievement Award recipient in 1998. He was also honored as a “Distinguished Practitioner in Optometry” in the National Academies of Practice. In 2000 the Los Angeles County Optometric Society honored him by renaming their contact lens continuing education series, “The Rodger T. Kame Contact Lens Series”.
Dr. Kame has gained international prominence for his clinical and professional contributions, having published over 50 articles, papers, and chapters for journals and textbooks, including some original discoveries. He was the “inventor” of the idea behind disposable soft contact lenses. He had presented more than 250 lectures worldwide.
In May of 1999, Dr. Kame was unanimously voted by the Class of 1999 to be its Commencement Speaker at their graduation. His address was entitled, “Class of 1999 – Bridging Two Centuries of Optometry”. Dr. Kame was also given the opportunity to “hood” his son, Gregory, at the graduation ceremony.
Dr. Kame underwent surgery in October 1999 to remove his right kidney, which contained a malignant tumor. He underwent many sessions of chemotherapy and radiation over the next 8 months. The cancer eventually spread from his kidney to his spine and finally to his lungs. Dr. Kame’s valiant battle with cancer ended the morning of July 11, 2000.
A few weeks before his passing, Dr. Kame wrote a farewell letter expressing his gratitude towards his patients. It was a letter designed to be sent out to his patients if his health took a turn for the worse. We all hoped that letter would not have to be mailed. Unfortunately, the letter was sent out a few days after his passing.
Dr. Kame was able to witness the marriage of his second son, Gregory, to Anna Sun on Father’s Day, June 18, 2000, at the family’s church in West Los Angeles. He signed the marriage license certificate as a witness to the marriage.