by Bob Shepard
Eye screenings of people with diabetes in underserved communities revealed that one in five had early stage diabetic retinopathy, according to a new study by a research consortium including investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The findings, published today in JAMA Ophthalmology, also indicated that nearly half of the mostly minority populations screened had additional vision conditions such as glaucoma or cataract. The study, which used a telemedicine screening approach, also provided early validation of the efficacy of telemedicine in reaching underserved populations.
Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology, was a guest on Eye on Vision, a radio show focused on issues relevant for persons with vision impairment, which is based out of Memphis, Tenn., on November 1. Dr. Owsley explained her research on vision changes as related to aging. She also discussed how the use of a bioptic telescope can help certain individuals with visual impairment drive safely.
The UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation was honored as the Partnership of the Year by the Birmingham Area Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. This award recognizes an organization that demonstrates a genuine concern for the well-being of people with disabilities. The Center will now compete for the statewide award for Partnership of the Year, which will be announced in December.
The Alabama Department of Rehab Services (ADRS) nominated the Center for Low Vision because of their dedication to providing comprehensive vision rehabilitation aimed at creating or preserving independent and improvement in quality of life. Through their robust partnership ADRS and the Center provide individuals with disabilities the resources and support needed for success.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.