Earl L. Smith III, O.D., Ph.D.
Interim Chief Health Officer
Professor Smith received his OD (1972) and PhD (1978) from the University of Houston and subsequently joined the faculty of the UH College of Optometry. During his tenure in the College of Optometry, he has served as the Chair of the Basic Sciences Department, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, and as Dean. Professor Smith currently holds the Greeman-Petty Professorship in Vision Development and is serving as the Interim Chief Health Officer of the University of Houston.
Professor Smith’s research interests are focused on the optics of the eye. He received the Glenn Fry Award (1996) and the Prentice Medal (2010) from the American Academy of Optometry for his research on the role of vision in regulating refractive development and eye growth. Professor Smith has published over 160 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 and in 2003 was selected by the Texas Optometric Association as its Educator of the Year.
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 the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (2010), a past Member and Chair of NIH NEI’s Central Visual Processing Study Section (1998-2003), and a past member of NIH’s National Advisory Eye Council (2005-2008). Professor Smith currently serves on the Board of Directors of Prevent Blindness Texas.