Skip to Content

Dennis M. Levi, OD, PhD
Member, Berkeley Optometry Hall of Fame

Dennis M. Levi

Dennis M. Levi is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley with appointments in the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science, and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. His research focuses on how we see form and depth, and how these are impacted by abnormal early visual development, particularly amblyopia and strabismus. Dr. Levi’s research has been funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) since 1976.

Levi was born and grew up in East London, South Africa where he attended Selborne Primary School and Selborne College. He received his diploma in Optometry in 1967 from the Witwatersrand School of Optometry, in Johannesburg, South Africa. After practicing Optometry in Johannesburg and Vereeniging in Gauteng Province, South Africa, he and his new bride, Marilyn moved to Houston, Texas where he earned an OD in 1971, an MS (Physiol. Optics) in 1973, and a PhD (Physiol. Optics) in 1977 from the University of Houston.

Dr. Levi started his academic career at the University of Houston in 1972 as an instructor in optometry and progressed through the ranks becoming full professor in 1982. He served as the Associate Dean for Research from 1990-2001 and was awarded the University’s highest honor, Cullen Distinguished Professor in 1996. In 2001, he joined the University of California, Berkeley serving as the Dean of the School of Optometry until 2014. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Optometry at UC Berkeley.

Among his many service activities, Levi served as Chair of the National Eye Institute Vision Science B Study section, and more recently on the National Advisory Eye Council. Levi has served, and continues to serve on a number of editorial boards including Vision Research, Journal of Vision, Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics, Annual Reviews of Vision Science and Scientific reports. He was Editor in Chief of Vision Research and Journal of Vision, and begins a new 5-year term as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Vision in 2023.

Among his awards and honors, Dr. Levi has received an American Optometry Foundation Research Fellowship (1972); two Garland W. Clay Awards from the American Academy of Optometry (1982 and 1983); the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award, University of Houston (1986); the Glenn Fry Award from the American Academy of Optometry (1987); an Optical Society of America Fellowship (1995); the Distinguished Cullen Professorship from the University of Houston (1996); the Charles F. Prentice Medal Award from the American Academy of Optometry (2011); the Edgar D. Tillyer Award from the Optical Society of America (2016); and from ARVO (Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology), a Gold Fellow and Distinguished Service Award (2018).

Dr. Levi holds the Guinness World Record for the Highest Hyperacuity. In April 1984, he repeatedly identified the relative position of a thin bright green line with a precision of 0.85 seconds of arc seconds, equivalent to a displacement of some 6 mm at a distance of 1.6 km.

As of December 2022, Levi has published approximately 300 scientific papers and two books. His work has been cited more than 26,000 times and he has an h-index of 82 (Google Scholar).