Frederick Hampton Roy Sr. (1937–2020)

Frederick Hampton Roy Sr. was an ophthalmologist who lived and practiced in Little Rock (Pulaski County). He wrote many books on ophthalmology, some of which have been translated into other languages. Roy also authored books on topics such as history, architecture, and religion. In addition to being a prominent member of the Arkansas medical community, he was a prolific writer, a philanthropist, an advocate for historic preservation, and a politician.

F. Hampton Roy was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 27, 1937. He graduated from Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in June 1955. After graduation, he entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and received a BS in 1958. In 1961, he received his MD from the University of Tennessee School of Medicine in Memphis, where he also completed his residency in ophthalmology. Afterward, he received a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology from the same institution. From 1967 to 1969, Roy served as a member of the U.S. Army and was stationed at Madigan General Hospital at Fort Lewis, Washington. By the time he was discharged, he had attained the rank of major.

After leaving military service, he joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas School of Medicine (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) in Little Rock and served as an assistant professor of ophthalmology from 1969 to 1974. In July 1974, Roy went into private practice, specializing in cataract surgery, which he made his life’s work. He has pioneered various types of cataract surgeries and other treatments for the eye, as well as authoring many books on the subject.

In 1974, Roy established the World Eye Foundation to improve the quality of eye care in third-world nations. Roy traveled to nineteen countries to teach surgical techniques and medical treatments to local physicians. At least twelve colleagues of Roy, all ophthalmologists from the United States, traveled around the world for the foundation.

Roy authored more than forty books. His first book, Ocular Differential Diagnosis, was translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, German, and Chinese. The first edition was published in 1972, with the ninth edition published in 2012. Another significant book, Ocular Syndromes and Systemic Diseases, was first published in 1985, with the fifth edition published in 2012.

Roy received several awards for his work in restoring historic homes and buildings. Some of these awards included the Parker Westbrook Historic Preservation Award in 1984; the Jimmy Strawn Award from the Quapaw Quarter Association in 1985; the Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects, Arkansas Chapter, in 1985; and the Pride in America Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior that was presented to Roy by President Ronald Reagan on July 21, 1987. Roy also authored books that pertain to architecture and life in Little Rock. His book on architect Charles Thompson, Charles Thompson and Associates, Arkansas Architects 1885–1937, was published by August House in 1984. He also authored a book on the history of Little Rock, How We Lived—Little Rock as an American City, published by August House in 1984.

In 2010, Roy wrote and self-published a book on religion, Jesus: His Family, His Friends, and His Followers, featuring text from the King James Bible and focusing on Jesus and those most closely associated with him, as well as Christian icons, the color system of icons, and the elements of iconography.

In addition to his other pursuits, Roy, who was a member of the Democratic Party, was also involved in politics. He was elected to the Little Rock Board of Directors in 1991 and served in that capacity until 1995. He also made two unsuccessful attempts for the office of lieutenant governor of Arkansas in 1986 and in 1990.

As a philanthropist, Roy made significant financial contributions to many worthwhile organizations. In 1980, he established the F. Hampton Roy Award through the Pulaski County Historical Society. The Roy Award is a competition among writers that encourages the research and writing of Pulaski County history.

Roy was long involved in private practice and also performed eye surgery at hospitals in Little Rock, Nashville (Howard County), and Heber Springs (Cleburne County). His specialty was the removal of cataracts and the insertion of an intraocular lens implant. Roy was the first ophthalmologist in Arkansas to use the intraocular lens implant, which has proven to be the treatment of choice for cataract surgery.

Roy died on October 8, 2020, under hospice care at his home.

For additional information:
Brandon, Phyllis. “Frederick Hampton Roy.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 26, 1989, pp. 1D, 8D.

F. Hampton Roy Collection. University of Central Arkansas Archives and Special Collections, Conway, Arkansas.

Razer, Bob. “The F. Hampton Roy Awards: A Gift That Keeps On Giving.” Pulaski County Historical Review 60 (Fall 2012): 97–101.

Jimmy Bryant
University of Central Arkansas


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