Earl L. Smith III, OD, PhD
Professor Smith received his OD (1972) and PhD (1978) from the University of Houston and subsequently joined the faculty of the University of Houston, College of Optometry.
During his tenure at UH, he has served as the Chair of the Basic Sciences Department, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, the Dean of the College of Optometry, and as the Chief Health Officer of the University of Houston. Professor Smith currently holds the Greeman-Petty Professorship in Vision Development and is serving his second term as the Dean of the College of Optometry.
Professor Smith’s research interests are focused on the optics of the eye. For his research on the role of vision in regulating refractive development and eye growth, he received the Glenn Fry Award (1996) and the Prentice Medal (2010) from the American Academy of Optometry, the Korb Award for Excellence from the Contact Lens and Cornea Section of the AOA (2011), and was recognized as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow by the National Academy of Practice in Optometry (2012). Professor Smith has published more than 180 refereed papers and received 33 years of research funding from the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Eye Institute (NEI). He is also an accomplished lecturer, having received teaching awards at the department, college and university levels.
Professor Smith is an active member of the vision science community. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, an ARVO Fellow (inaugural class), a past President of the American Optometric Foundation (2002), a past President of ASCO (2010), a past Member and Chair of NIH NEI’s Central Visual Processing Study Section (1998-2003), a past member of NIH’s National Advisory Eye Council (2005-2008), and currently serves as a Director on the Boards of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research.
For his accomplishments in teaching and his impact on the profession of optometry, the Texas Optometric Association presented Professor Smith with the Educator of the Year (2003) and Optometrist of the Year (2009) awards and the AOA inducted him into National Optometry Hall of Fame (2015).