Girkin

EyeSight Foundation of Alabama Chair, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital

Areas of Interest
pediatric and adult glaucoma, complex cataracts

Appointments
(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. He completed his ophthalmology residency training and a Masters in Science in Public Health at the UAB. He completed fellowships in neuro-ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University and a Heed fellowship in glaucoma at the The Shiley Eye Center at University of California, San Diego. He joined the UAB faculty and founded the Glaucoma Service in 1999.  Since becoming chairman in 2012, he has recruited 19 new faculty members. This growth has resulted in an increase in annual NIH research revenue from 1.8$ million in 2013  to over 6$ million  in 2016 while expanding the clinical practice to create the largest multispecialty integrated eyecare practice in Alabama, seeing over 90,000 patients visits in 2016 in 15 regional practice locations.

Dr. Girkin has authored or coauthored over 150 journal articles with research focusing on the mechanisms underlying the greater predilection to develop optic nerve injury in individuals of African ancestry. Related hypothesis are explored through patient-oriented research, including morphometric and biomechanical studies of the lamina cribrosa and posterior sclera (utilizing post-mortem human donor tissues (NEI-funded Digital Optic Nerve Episcopic Reconstruction; DONOR library, MPI), imaging of the lamina cribrosa in the NEI-sponsored African Descent and Glaucoma Evaluation Study (ADAGES, MPI), and imaging-based health services research to deliver care to underserved populations in the CDC-sponsored Eye Care Quality and Accessibility Improvement in the Community (EQUALITY, PI)) study. His laboratory has received continuous funding from the National Eye Institute for 15 years, in addition to leading funded projects sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control, the Glaucoma Research Foundation, the American Health Assistance Foundation, Research to Prevent Blindness, the Eyesight Foundation of Alabama and several foundation and industry grants that have brought over $15 million in extramural funding to UAB.

Dr. Girkin has served as the Secretary for the American Glaucoma Society (AGS), as program chair for several national and international meetings including the AGS meeting, the glaucoma program for Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Glaucoma Subspecialty day. He currently Chairs the AAO Basic Science Review Course for glaucoma. He has been awarded the American Glaucoma Society Clinician-Scientist Award, the Research to Prevent Blindness Clinician-Scientist Award, EyeSight Foundation Eminent Scholar Award, the Ronald Lowe Medal, the AAO Senior Achievement Award, the “Best Doctors in America” award yearly since 2003 and is a fellow of ARVO and the American College of Surgeons. He has delivered over 270 lectures to practitioners and researchers throughout the world.

Research

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.

His 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 

Internship
University of Arkansas 

Residency in Ophthalmology
University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology 

Fellowship
Wilmer Eye Institute & Shiley Eye Center

Contact Information

Location
Callahan Eye Hospital, Suite 601 

Phone
205-325-8660 

Appointment Phone
205-325-8620 

Clinic Fax
205-325-8641 

Contact Person
Judy Longfellow
205-325-8660