UAB School of Optometry Student Wins National Scholarship

The student’s social media campaign highlights the importance of child eye exams.
Written by: Ann Marie Stephens and Satina Richardson
Media contact: Anna Jones

inside hannahmorrisonHannah MorrisonHannah Morrison, a Tuscaloosa native and student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, has received the Optometry Cares 2023 Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship for a social media campaign she developed highlighting the importance of comprehensive eye exams for children beginning at 6 months of age.

Morrison won the $10,000 scholarship by creating a social media toolkit including a two-minute video and templates for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The toolkit is superhero-themed and conveys that having good vision, or #supersight, is a superpower.

Morrison became interested in the topic during her pediatrics clinic rotations, where she learned the importance of frequent eye exams for young children to prevent eye conditions such as amblyopia and strabismus, also known as lazy eye and crossed eyes, respectively.

“I wanted children to see their glasses as empowering and as a source of confidence,” Morrison said. “My hope is that, through my video and social media toolkit, glasses will be seen as ‘cool’ and normal, allowing children and their parents to see the benefits of wearing glasses. Superheroes are seen as being powerful, and my hope is that glasses and clear vision can be seen as the same.” 

The scholarship was awarded by Optometry Cares, an organization that supports the future of the profession by offering scholarships to optometry students. Scholarships and grants range from $2,500 to $10,000 and are awarded to students in their third or fourth year of optometry school.

Optometry Cares and EssilorLuxottica, an eyewear company, will share these resources on their social media platforms. Morrison has already seen a promising response from sharing the winning toolkit on her social media.

“Three friends have reached out to me about scheduling an eye exam at UAB for their children,” Morrison said. “I am excited to see how Optometry Cares will use it, and I am hopeful about the impact this campaign will make.” 

The class of 2024 student says she applied for the scholarship because of her natural love of photography and videography and appreciation for the positive impact social media can have. 

“I felt this scholarship was a great opportunity for me to incorporate all three areas into one and utilize those skills to promote something positive,” she said. “I hope social media can be a place where I can connect with my patients, promote a future practice, be able to grow professionally and my patients can have easy access to knowledge about eye health.”