A Bold Vision: Partnership allows UAB to boost research
UAB program opens doors to drivers who are sight-impaired
Protect your eyes: A baseball player's story
UAB pilot program brings glaucoma screenings closer to home
Rich Lecture Series

Complex contact lenses from UAB Ophthalmology keep disabled vet rolling

by Bob Shepard

Jeff Henson has been riding bikes for years. In 2012, he rode a bike coast to coast across the United States. Before that, the Army veteran did a long bike ride in France, and several in the American Northwest, always on a tandem bike and always from the back seat. He was not allowed to ride on the front seat, the steering seat.

Jeff Henson was legally blind during those rides.

Henson, a native of Heflin, Alabama, who served as a demolition specialist in the Army for nine years, developed vision issues caused by arthritis and inflammation that first struck his right eye in 2000.


New researcher joins ophthalmology

Kwon web

MiYoung Kwon, Ph.D., joins the UAB Department of Ophthalmology as an assistant professor. Dr. Kwon’s research focuses on understanding how eye disorders impact the way visual information is processed in the brain and how the brain learns to see the world in degraded viewing conditions. Her ultimate goal is to identify the factors that limit visual performance and then use this understating to improve the functional vision of people with visual impairment. 

“We are delighted that Dr. Kwon has joined our faculty. Her research on how the brain processes visual information in persons with various eye disorders is cutting edge and is critical for developing effective treatments and rehabilitation strategies for persons with vision impairment,” said Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., M.S.P.H, professor and Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology.


Read named to endowed professorship

read boom

Russell W. Read, M.D., Ph.D., was named the inaugural holder of the Max and Lorayne Cooper Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology Residency Training. 

“Dr. Read has been instrumental in positioning our residency program as a leading program for educating the ophthalmologists of tomorrow. This professorship is well deserved, and will provide Dr. Read with the resources to continue to strengthen our outstanding program,” said Christopher A. Girkin, M.D., M.S.P.H., professor and EyeSight Foundation of Alabama Endowed Chair.


UAB research receives attention among European ophthalmologists

Two research projects from the UAB AMD Histopathology Laboratory, directed by Christine A. Curcio, Ph.D., were presented this week at the Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft, which is the German equivalent of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of vision loss among the elderly that is currently only treatable in one of its late stages. Our scientists are working to understand the early stages of AMD so this vision-stealing disease can be treated sooner.


UAB ophthalmologists participate in healthy aging webinar

Christopher Girkin, M.D., and Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., of the UAB Department of Ophthalmology, along with Torrey DeKeyser, executive director of the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, participated in a webinar on September 5, 2014, titled “How Our Eyes Age – The Impact on Everyday Life.” The webinar was hosted by Grantmakers in Aging, which is an organization that acts as a catalyst for philanthropy.

Drs. Girkin and Owsley discussed eye disorders that are commonly associated with aging, including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, as well as how aging-related vision impairment impacts everyday life. They also provided suggestions of healthy behaviors that protect eyesight. DeKeyser explained how her organization is working to address vision issues for older adults in the community.

Listen to the full webinar.

The webinar was co-sponsored by the John A. Hartford Foundation, Research to Prevent Blindness and the Eyesight Foundation of Alabama.

A Bold Vision

PresidentWatts-TorreyDeKeyser-DrHofland-DrGirkinA unique and dynamic philanthropic collaboration has resulted in a gift commitment to establish the Research to Prevent Blindness/Susan and Dowd Ritter Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Research in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology. The $3.75-million endowment, one of the largest in UAB history, will enable the department to recruit a world-class scientist to join its existing roster of international experts in the study of blinding diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma.


Huisingh awarded scholarship for aging research


Carrie Huisingh, M.P.H., statistician in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology, was awarded the UAB Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging Research Scholarship in Aging for the 2014-2015 academic year. This scholarship is awarded annually to four UAB graduate students whose proposed research examines an aspect of the aging process that impacts the health and well-being of a significant segment of the elderly population.


Growth of Ocular Biomechanics evident at 2014 World Congress of Biomechanics

R. Grytz
J. C. Downs
m. A. Fazio

The growth of the field of ocular biomechanics was on display at the 7th World Congress of Biomechanics July 6 to July 11, 2014, and the UAB Department of Ophthalmology Program of Ocular Biomechanics and Biotransport was at the forefront of this exciting meeting. 

Rafael Grytz, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology, was invited to co-organize and chair the Biomechanics of the Eye Symposium, which featured 18 presentations and one keynote lecture about the field of ocular biomechanics.


Rhodes named to prestigious Leadership Development class

Rhodes.NAL2013Lindsay A. Rhodes, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham was named to the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Leadership Development Program Class of 2015. This prestigious program represents a commitment by the AAO to develop future leaders.

The group comprises 20 ophthalmologists from across the United States and one international appointee. Rhodes, who joined the faculty in 2013 upon completion of her glaucoma fellowship and residency at UAB, has taken an active role in the ophthalmic community.