EyeSight Foundation of Alabama Chair; Chief Medical Officer, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital

Areas of Interest
glaucoma, complex cataracts

(205) 325-8620 

Dr. Girkin’s clinical practice centers on the surgical management of adult and pediatric glaucoma and complex cataract. His research focuses on the effects of age, race and glaucomatous injury on the morphology and biomechanical behavior of the optic nerve.

Dr. Girkin has authored or coauthored 260 journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters in major ophthalmic publications covering both neuro-ophthalmology and glaucoma. He has served on the editorial board for the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Journal of Glaucoma, Glaucoma Today, Focus on Glaucoma and is a current member of the editorial board for Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. His active research program has brought over $10 million in extramural funding to the department with research grant support as primary investigator from the National Eye InstituteGlaucoma Research FoundationResearch to Prevent Blindness, and EyeSight Foundation of Alabama.

Dr. Girkin currently serves as secretary for the American Glaucoma Society and chaired the Glaucoma Program Committee for Association for Vision Research and Ophthalmology in 2012. He was awarded the American Glaucoma Society Clinician-Scientist Award in 2003 and 2004, the Research to Prevent Blindness Physician-Scientist Award in 2005, the Ronald Lowe Medal in 2008, and has been selected as one of the "Best Doctors in America" yearly from 2003 to 2013. He has served as an invited lecturer at numerous research and educational events, including chairing the American Academy of Ophthalmology Subspecialty Day in Glaucoma, and has delivered over 250 lectures to ophthalmic practitioners and professionals throughout the United States and abroad.

Dr. Girkin completed his ophthalmology residency training at the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, followed by a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He concluded a second fellowship in glaucoma with the The Shiley Eye Center at University of California, San Diego, as a Heed Glaucoma Fellow.


Dr. Girkin’s current research programs focus on developing and evaluating a composite measure to better quantify glaucomatous damage based on quantitative optic disc topography and nerve fiber layer analysis using scanning laser polarimetry and optical coherence topography, along with electrophysiologic and psychophysical measures that emphasize specific retinal ganglion cell response characteristics. His particular focus is in the under-studied African-American population, which is at much greater risk from blindness from glaucoma.

Dr. Girkin’s major bench research focuses on the development of three-dimensional digital reconstructions of the human optic nerve head that can be used to test the hypothesis that variation in 3D laminar architecture and biomechanical behavior are critical in determining individual susceptibility to glaucomatous injury. Specifically, that variation in laminar 3D architecture is associated with well described risk factors for glaucomatous disease such as increasing age and African American ancestry.

Education & Training

Medical School
University of Arkansas 

University of Arkansas 

Residency in Ophthalmology
University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology 

Wilmer Eye Institute & Shiley Eye Center

Contact Information

Callahan Eye Hospital, Suite 601 


Appointment Phone

Clinic Fax

Contact Person
Judy Longfellow