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Steve Chaplin
IU Communications

Last modified: Monday, November 12, 2012

American Academy of Optometry recognizes two from IU for distinguished careers

Nov. 12, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The distinguished careers of two Indiana University School of Optometry professors have been recognized by the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Sarita Soni, also vice provost for research at IU Bloomington, and Dr. Larry Thibos were recognized by the academy for their unique contributions to the field of vision science.

Thibos, who in 1991 received the academy's Glenn A. Fry Lecture Award for research contributions by distinguished scientists and clinicians, received its 2012 Charles F. Prentice Medal Award. Established in 1958, the Prentice Medal Award is presented annually to a distinguished scientist or clinician scientist in recognition of a career-long record of advancement of knowledge in vision science. The award is considered to be the most prestigious of the academy's awards for achievement in research.

"Winning the Prentice award is a rare honor for IU, as the only previous recipient was in 1976: professor Henry Hofstetter, the founder of the IU School of Optometry," School of Optometry Dean Joseph Bonanno said. "Under the leadership of former Dean Gerald Lowther, IUSO invested heavily in vision science research for the 21st century with an emphasis on visual optics. As a result, our school is now recognized as the premier institution in the world in the field of visual optics research and its clinical applications. That reputation will be further enhanced by having the 2012 Prentice Medal in our school's showcase."

Soni received the William Feinbloom Award, established in 1983, for her "distinguished and significant contribution to clinical excellence and the direct clinical advancement of visual and optometric service, and thus the visual enhancement of the public."

"Dr. Soni has made a significant mark on the profession of optometry and on the Indiana University School of Optometry," Bonanno said. "By contributing to major advancements in clinical care, and by representing the needs of patients both in her own community and around the world, she most certainly fits the spirit of the Feinbloom award."

Soni received her ophthalmic optics degree from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in England and her Doctor of Optometry degree and Master of Science degree in pathology from Indiana University.

She joined the School of Optometry as an assistant professor in 1978. In 1995, she helped establish the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research at Indiana University and served as its founding co-director until 2006. From 1992 to 2004, Soni served the School of Optometry as its associate dean for research and, from 2008 to 2010, as its interim dean. Soni's research focuses on cornea and development and correction of refractive errors.

Thibos received bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in physiological optics from the University of California Berkeley. He joined the IU School of Optometry in 1983, and his research interests include the effects of optical aberrations of the eye on visual performance, the limits to spatial vision imposed by retinal architecture and the characterization of vision in the peripheral field. A founding member of the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research at IU, Thibos was recognized in 1999 as IU's distinguished faculty research lecturer.

Founded in 1922, the American Academy of Optometry is committed to promoting the art and science of vision care through lifelong learning, continuing education and the most current vision science research. The awards were announced during the academy's recent annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.

For more information please contact Steve Chaplin, IU Communications, at 812-856-1896 or