Optometry professor garners top honors for contributions to contact lenses

by | Sep 19, 2016

Ed Bennett has been ranked among the "30 Most Influential in Contact Lenses" by the national publication Contact Lens Spectrum.
Ed Bennett, "Most Influential" ranking awardee

Ed Bennett (at left), pictured here with former students (from left) Mark Havara, Erin Brooks and Jamie Gold, was named among the most influential in his field in this month’s 30th-anniversary edition of Contact Lens Spectrum. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Just last year, Edward Bennett was recognized by the American Academy of Optometry for his excellent teaching practices. Now the University of Missouri–St. Louis professor is being honored once more – this time for his unparalleled work in the field of contact lenses.

Contact Lens Spectrum, a nationally recognized publication and trusted source for clinical contact lens information, has named Bennett one of their “30 Most Influential In Contact Lenses.”

The list was compiled via a nomination process that asked the publication’s readership of professionals to cast their votes for those “individuals who have made a significant impact in the field of contact lenses over the last 30 years.”

Ed Bennett, Contact Lens Spectrum awardee

Ed Bennett was also honored in 2015 with the Michael G. Harris Award for Excellence in Optometric Education from the American Academy of Optometry.

The honor specifically highlights Bennett’s contributions to the science and study of gas permeable (GP) lenses – a special area of interest the professor has remained devoted to for more than 25 years.

“It is a wonderful honor,” says Bennett, who is also assistant dean for student services and alumni relations in the College of Optometry. “It’s actually been a victory for the average person, because I am not a scholar, and anything I have been fortunate enough to accomplish has been through putting forth much effort.”

Bennett is executive director of the Gas Permeable Lens Institute, chair-elect of the Contact Lens and Cornea Section Council of the American Optometric Association and a past chair of the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators – to name only a few of his many invaluable appointments over the years. He has also authored more than 200 publications, including 12 textbooks, and lectured or presented at more than 250 scientific and continuing education symposia.

These accomplishments all come in addition to teaching the many energetic classes he is well known for on the UMSL campus. Bennett says that the cornerstone of his pedagogy continues to be keeping his students laughing while learning.

“I attempt to use ­– with varying success – an ‘edutainment approach’ such that humor is a tool in the learning process,” he explains. “It has certainly been a great blessing to teach optometry students at UMSL.”

The UMSL Experience

Jami Hirsch

Jami Hirsch