A leader in vision and driving research
Pioneering age-related macular degeneration research
Advanced optic imaging capabilities
Exploring glaucoma via ocular biomechanics
  • UAB identifies functional biomarker for age-related macular degeneration

    owsley da

    Adults whose eyes are slow to adjust to the dark have a greater risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, according to new findings from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published online in Ophthalmology. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in older adults in the United States.

  • Downs receives a second R01 grant to study glaucoma

    Downs grant

    J. Crawford Downs, Ph.D., has received a four-year, $1.88 million grant from the National Eye Institute to further explore the underlying mechanisms of glaucoma and bring the relationship between age, intraocular pressure and glaucoma development into focus. This award is in addition to a three-year, $1.23 million grant Downs received in May 2015 to investigate the role of intraocular pressure fluctuations in glaucoma.

  • Eye site offers new insight on age-related macular degeneration

    ProjectMacula Curcio

    Over the past 14 years, Christine A. Curcio, Ph.D., a professor in the UAB School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology, has collected images from hundreds of donor eyes in her search for the basic mechanisms underlying age-related macular degeneration. AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in Americans age 60 or older, affecting up to 15 million people in the United States today and almost 200 million people worldwide by 2020. As the population ages, those numbers will only increase. AMD occurs when the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. But the exact cause is unknown, and new treatments are desperately needed.

  • UAB study looks to improve medication adherence in African-American glaucoma patients

    glaucomadevice v2

    Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are hoping a telemedicine-based health promotion intervention can improve medication adherence rates among older African-Americans with glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among African-Americans, who are more than three times more likely to develop glaucoma than are Caucasians.

  • UAB study finds that seniors in subsidized housing have higher rates of vision impairment

    Older adults living in subsidized housing facilities have higher rates of vision impairment than their peers, according to a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology.

    The findings, published in The Gerontologist, were based on vision screenings for 238 residents of 14 federally subsidized senior housing facilities in Jefferson County, Ala. Forty percent of those surveyed failed distance vision screenings, and 58 percent failed near vision screenings, considerably higher than the rate of visual impairment in the general older adult population, which is typically between 10 and 20 percent.

  • Grandmother’s vision struggle motivates young woman to make a difference

    Curcio Owsley AseemAs a young girl in Afghanistan, Fazila Aseem watched her grandmother struggle to complete daily tasks independently due to vision loss. Her grandmother was unable to see well enough to prepare a simple meal for herself, and there was nothing Afghan doctors could do to restore or repair her vision.

  • UAB researcher awarded $1.23 million grant for glaucoma research

    Downs newwebJ. Crawford Downs, Ph.D., vice chair of Research in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology, was awarded a three-year, $1.23 million grant from the National Eye Institute to explore intraocular pressure fluctuation as it relates to the development and progression of glaucoma, a potentially blinding disease that affects more than 2.2 million Americans.

  • UAB faculty to participate in visual rehabilitation symposium

    UAB faculty members MiYoung Kwon, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology, Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., professor of ophthalmology, and Kristina Visscher, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology are speaking at a Visual Rehabilitation Symposium hosted by the Atlanta VAMC Rehabilitation Research and Development Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation and Emory University Eye Center on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

  • Grytz receives glaucoma award from BrightFocus

    Grytz SamulesRafael Grytz, Ph.D., associate professor, received the Thomas R. Lee Award for Glaucoma Research from the BrightFocus Foundation recognizing his grant, “Quantifying Collagen Remodeling of the Optic Nerve Head”, as the second-highest rated proposal received by the National Glaucoma Research Program in 2015. The award was presented at the Association for Research in Ophthalmology and Vision Science (ARVO) annual meeting on Monday, May 4, 2015. 

  • Young Scientist Makes Strides in Reengineering the Eye

    Grytzlab web

    For research pursuits, Rafael Grytz, Ph.D., has always blazed his own trail. That may explain how a civil engineer from Germany became as an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology.

    Grytz applies to the eye principles he first learned as a civil engineer studying shell structures, such as church domes or cooling towers of nuclear power plants. Early in his career Grytz realized he wanted to pursue biomedical research. Having graduated at the top of his class, he earned the chance to choose any area of study for his doctoral research. He made the unobvious choice and selected the eye, specifically diseases that impact the structure of the eye, such as glaucoma myopia and keratoconus.

  • Ocular biomechanics expert joins faculty

    Fazio webportraitMassimo Antonio Fazio, Ph.D., joins the UAB Department of Ophthalmology as an assistant professor. Dr. Fazio holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. As a mechanical engineer, Dr. Fazio has dedicated his career to developing customized methods and non-contact optical techniques to measure deformations in loaded materials to gain a deeper understanding of the biomechanical properties of ocular tissues. His work is currently focused on investigating how intraocular pressure (IOP) drives structural changes in the eye in relationship to age, race, and ocular diseases like glaucoma.

  • As glaucoma cases soar, researchers focus on solutions

    Lindsay Rhodes

    Ernest Murry saw glaucoma steal his mother’s vision, just as it had robbed sight from many other family members. There was a time when it seemed the same might happen to him. “When I went outside to walk, I would have to pat in front of me to keep from falling,” he says.

  • UAB Seeks Answers to Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    Zhang AMD

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes central vision loss in millions of Americans, interfering with everyday tasks such as driving, reading, and recognizing faces.

  • Diabetic eye screenings via telemedicine show value for underserved communities

    DR Screening

    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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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 age-related 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

    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.

  • UAB’s Gamlin wins Disney award for “lazy eye” research

    Gamlin web Paul D. Gamlin, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been awarded the RPB Walt and Lilly Disney Award for Amblyopia Research by Research to Prevent Blindness.

    Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye,” is the major cause of monocular blindness in America, affecting up to 3 percent of young children. Gamlin will use the $100,000 award to investigate the role of the brain’s cerebellum in maintaining eye alignment.

    “This generous award will allow me to investigate how eyes align and focus,” said Paul D. Gamlin, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “These investigations should provide important insights into how these mechanisms malfunction in amblyopia, which will allow us to suggest new treatments for this common disease.”