J Lawton Smith Award Recipient

J Lawton Smith was one of the original founders of the COS.  He was globally well known as a neuroophthalmologist who was charismatic in practice and his faith!

The J Lawton Smith Award is given out each year at the COS Annual Meeting to an ophthalmologist who has shown a lifetime commmitment to serving the Lord through their personal practice of excellence in medicine, academic influence, and/or missionary dedication.

Wisdom born out of experience tempered with faith!




Award Year:

“It was an opportunity I could not resist: At the COS meeting in 2014, Van made a chance remark that he would be willing to help me in Swaziland.”

by Jono Pons

Meeting Van and Margaret at COS immediately drew me to them: Working with Christian Blind Mission in Ethiopia and Madagascar and other far-flung places, here was a couple with wisdom born out of hard experience and tempered with faith. They had given their best years to Mission work, nurtured their children on the mission field and lit a torch of faith in many others. I pestered Van with questions, I had to get more of this man!

What a joy for my team and I when Van arrived in Swaziland for what would probably be his last missionary trip. Last clinically active some years prior, Van got into the Ophthalmology groove quickly but also into some trouble: I do recall an ample Swazi matron proposing to him! This popular man was appreciated for his clinical wisdom by day, whilst by night he led bible study and graced many a dinner table. Van brings into difficult situations a peace, confidence and gentleness which must be the fruit of the Spirit. Behind this man stands a family of robust faith supported by a prayerful wife! And his legacy is a path in Missions Ophthalmology that few have trod, but many have emulated!”

JLS Award Recipients

Other amazing ophthalmologists to know . . .