Outreach Activities

Department of Ophthalmology
School of Medicine
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Eye Care Quality and Accessibility Improvement in the Community (Project EQUALITY)
Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation
Songs for Sight Youth Low Vision Support Group
UAB Connections Support Groups for Adults with Vision Impairment and Their Families
Orientation and Mobility Services (O&M)
InCHARGE eye health education program for seniors through Area Agencies on Aging in Alabama
Jefferson Health System Eye Clinic, serving the indigent of Jefferson County, Alabama
UAB Callahan Eye Hospital Emergency Department
Alabama Lions Clinic/Cooper Green Eye Clinic
INSIGHT network’s telemedicine-based diabetic retinopathy screening program for patients with diabetes in the Jefferson Health Clinic
Telemedicine-based diabetic retinopathy screening program for diabetic patients in Kirklin’s Endocrinology Clinics

Parent Support Groups



Eye Care Quality and Accessibility Improvement in the Community (Project EQUALITY)
This is a demonstration program combining primary comprehensive eye care in community eye clinics at Wal-Mart Vision Centers with a telemedicine component based at UAB to improve the detection and follow-up of glaucoma in patients who are high-risk for this disease.  The program is designed to improve the quality, efficiency, and convenience of eye care.
(Supported by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama)
For more information contact Demond Wiley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation
The UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary research and rehabilitation center that provides quality patient care, teaching and research to advance knowledge in the area of vision rehabilitation. State of the art care is provided for persons with vision impairment not correctable with glasses, contact lenses, or other treatments. Every year approximately 700 low vision patients receive rehabilitation care in the center. Experts in ophthalmology, optometry, occupational therapy, and psychology combine their knowledge to meet the special needs of each patient. Together they help persons with low vision lead more satisfying and productive lives.
The center has an active support group for children with visual impairment and has organized multiple Songs for Sight fundraisers to support the group.

Songs for Sight Youth Low Vision Support Group 
This is a peer support group for children with vision impairment and their families.  Childhood vision impairment is a rare condition and often children with vision impairment have never met another child with similar challenges.  The Songs for Sight Youth Low Vision Support Group provides the opportunity for children and parents to know that they are not alone and to share their knowledge and experiences. The group meets at least three times per year for 1-day or weekend retreats.  All events have educational, peer support and recreational components.  The group is sponsored through the Songs For Sight benefit concerts and participation is free. 
 
UAB Connections Support Groups for Adults with Vision Impairment and Their Families 
UAB Connections is a health education program run through the Department of Ophthalmology that consists of a combination of educational, social, recreational/leisure, and physical activities. The goal of the curriculum is to share eye health knowledge and research, improve coping skills and quality of life, and to maximize independence within the context of peer support. Trained health educators facilitate the groups on a regular basis. Groups consist of persons with varying eye conditions such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, stroke, and eye injuries and their families. The VSRC provides financial support for this program.
(Supported by the Eyesight Foundation of Alabama)
For more information, please contact Dr. Laura E. Dreer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Orientation and Mobility Services (O&M)
Many people living with vision impairment have difficulty navigating physical and social environments.  They may be unable to anticipate and exercise control over potentially hazardous situations.  The skills needed to move safely and confidently through an environment are developed through instruction in Orientation and Mobility (O&M).  These skills sometimes incorporate the use of a white cane, although not all patients require a white cane.  This service is provided by Master’s level trained orientation and mobility instructors and is not covered by any form of health insurance. O&M training is provided free of charge to those referred by a provider in the UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation.
(Supported by the Songs for Sight Benefit Concerts)


InCHARGE eye health education program for seniors through Area Agencies on Aging in Alabama
InCHARGE© (In Communities Helping African Americans Receive General Eye Care) is an eye health education program targeted for older African Americans.  It promotes annual dilated eye examination by educating about the importance of routine preventive care and communicating strategies for removing the perceived barriers to eye care.  Trained health educators deliver the program to small groups of seniors in community settings.
(Supported by the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama and Central Alabama Community Foundation)
For more information contact Dr. Cynthia Owsley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jefferson Health System Eye Clinic, serving the indigent of Jefferson County, Alabama
Jefferson Health System Eye Clinic operated by Jefferson County, Alabama and provides outpatient and urgent care services to the citizens of Jefferson County, regardless of ability to pay.  The UAB Department of Ophthalmology has long partnered with the county to provide eye care services to uninsured patients.  With the transition in 2013 to a fully outpatient delivery model, this partnership continues and in fact has strengthened, given ophthalmology’s focus on outpatient care.
(Supported by Jefferson County, Alabama)
For more information contact Dr. Russell Read at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UAB Callahan Eye Hospital Emergency Department 
Our Emergency Department (ED) is the only dedicated eye ED in the state and one of only a few in the country.  We treat patients from throughout the state and region with traumatic and non-traumatic eye emergencies on a 24/7 basis.

Alabama Lions Clinic/Cooper Green Eye Clinic:
These facilities provide a training clinic for the UAB Department of Ophthalmology resident’s training. The Alabama Lions Clinic is housed in the Callahan Eye Hospital and cares for patients supported by Alabama Lions Sight indigent care program along with other qualifying individuals who receive free or reduced charge examinations for vision care and medical and surgical management of complex visual disorders. The service provides advanced eye care to individuals who are uninsured or underinsured outside of Jefferson County and receives referral from throughout the state. It is one of the largest providers of tertiary Eyecare and surgical services for the uninsured in Alabama. The Cooper Green Hospital houses the Ophthalmology Eye Care clinic that treats patients in Jefferson County with routine and complex ocular conditions who are under- or uninsured. Both of these clinics are staffed by general and subspecialty ophthalmologists from the UAB Department of Ophthalmology and combined, these programs provide for a significant amount of indigent Eyecare in the region.
(Supported by the Callahan Eye Hospital, UAB Health System)
For more information contact Brian Spraberry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

INSIGHT network’s telemedicine-based diabetic retinopathy screening program for patients with diabetes in the Jefferson Health Clinic
The Jefferson Health Clinic is a county-operated health service that cares for uninsured patients residing in Jefferson County.  Our program is screening adult patients with diabetes seen in the Internal Medicine Clinic for diabetic retinopathy using a non-mydriatic camera (meaning no dilating drops are needed).  Through telemedicine, images are read by fellowship trained retina specialists in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology with results and eye care recommendations sent back to the primary care physician.
(Supported by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
For more information contact Dr. Owsley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telemedicine-based diabetic retinopathy screening program for diabetic patients in Kirklin’s Endocrinology Clinics
Diabetic retinopathy is the number one cause of new cases of blindness in the adult working-age population.  Early treatment of diabetic retinopathy complications is highly effective and is one of the most cost effective treatments in all of medicine.  An aging population and an independently increasing incidence of diabetes is expected to lead to a doubling of diabetic retinopathy patients in Alabama, by the next decade.  Existing medical manpower levels however, are inadequate even now, to monitor the diabetic population, according to current recommendations, let alone, if diabetic retinopathy increases as expected in the future.  To address this concern, the UAB Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Endocrinology have developed a telemedicine monitoring program, designed to effectively monitor large numbers of diabetic patients for complications of diabetic retinopathy.  Standardized, digital retinal fundus photographs are taken in the Endocrinology Clinic and are delivered electronically to retinal specialists in the Department of Ophthalmology where they are interpreted.  The digital fundus photographs are evaluated using a standardized scoring system and an interpretation is returned electronically to Endocrinology Department physicians along with recommendations for follow-up retinal evaluation, as indicated.
For more information contact Myra Rivers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Parent Support Groups
Two statewide parent groups are affiliated with the VSRC Education and Outreach Module. The Alabama Deafblind Multi-handicapped Association meets during the annual Helen Keller Festival with collaborative training from VSRC staff. The Alabama Association for Parents of the Visually Impaired is assisted by the graduate teacher trainees who work with the children during the annual meeting. The parent group is a collaborative effort with “Songs for Sight” ophthalmology low vision, Hilton Perkins Parent Programs, and the UAB School of Education where the graduate students provide activities at the camp while obtaining clinical hours with children with low vision.