Dr. Earl Smith has been an integral part of the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) since 1966. In a remarkable career as a globally acclaimed scientist and professor, his work in myopia is radically changing how vision care practitioners help children see the world.
Over a career in myopia research spanning 30 years, Dr. Smith has systematically unraveled how visual experience influences refractive error development. His original idea that peripheral defocus strongly impacts the rate at which eyes grow is the scientific foundation for all of the optical methods of myopia control in use today. Collaborating with the late Professor Brien Holden and his group in Australia, he moved research from the lab into practical applications and found it personally rewarding.
As UHCO Dean, he transformed the college into a leading global center for optometry. Under his leadership, The Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute became a reality. The new building includes an Ambulatory Surgical Center that specializes in cataract surgery and is the first such facility associated with an optometry school in the United States.
Led by a very generous inaugural gift by Drs. Katie Castleberry ’86 and Kim Castleberry ’83, the Earl L. Smith III Research Professorship will attract, promote and retain high caliber faculty interested in pursuing research. To give to this endowed professorship, please click here.