Thomas T. Norton, PhD, FAAO, UAB School of Optometry professor emeritus, has been granted an honorary Doctor of Science degree from State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry for making substantial contributions to the advancement of optometry and public healthcare.

“As an esteemed scientist who has made great contributions to the field of optometry and vision science, you are recognized as a pioneer in exploring the visual control of eye growth and the causes of myopia,” an excerpt from Norton’s honorary degree states.

Norton is a graduate of Yale University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology. He received his PhD in psychology (neuroscience) from UCLA and completed his postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania in neurophysiology.

Regarded as one of the most active and productive contributors to experimental and clinical myopia (nearsightedness) research, Norton’s more than 30-year career produced a distinguished body of work on the causes of nearsightedness in children.

His lab discovered a feedback mechanism in human development that uses refractive error postnatally to adjust eye growth, producing eyes in good focus (emmetropia). As a professor emeritus, Norton uses his accumulated knowledge of the emmetropization mechanism and his research to help colleagues learn why so many children become nearsighted.

"Receiving an honorary degree from SUNY Optometry means that the work the many students and colleagues in my lab and I have done over the years is now enabling optometrists to slow the progression of myopia in children,” Norton said.

Norton has authored or co-authored nearly 100 publications since 1975, including 14 publications based on the long-term longitudinal Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET) cohort, alongside more than 147 abstracts and 150 presentations. His work has received recognition from vision research and care organizations across the world, including the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, the National Eye Institute, and more.

To this day, Norton continues as an effective contributor in myopia research and a mentor to new investigators.