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Dean's Message

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Welcome to the UAB School of Optometry – a small school with a big impact!

The UAB School of Optometry was established by the Alabama legislature on September 1, 1969, and admitted its first class of eight students on September 27, 1969. Its first Doctor of Optometry degrees were awarded on June 4, 1973. Since that time, the UAB School of Optometry has grown to include graduate degrees (MS, PhD) in Vision Science and postdoctoral residency education, and combined degrees (OD/MPH, OD/MBA and OD/MS). The optometry class size remains small with 50 students, which makes us one of the smaller optometry schools in the country—a fact we feel benefits the educational experience and allows our students to feel part of a family.

The UAB School of Optometry is located within the UAB Academic Health Center, which affords our students the opportunity to be surrounded by health professionals and researchers in a variety of disciplines. It also offers students the many benefits of a small school, such as intimate learning settings and stronger relationships with faculty, while they enjoy the university-sponsored events and programs within a large urban campus. In addition, Birmingham is a vibrant metropolitan area with a strong sense of community. There is something for everyone, including hiking, museums, golf, the symphony, football, concerts and much more.

The UAB School of Optometry has a world-class reputation for educating optometrists and vision scientists. Our faculty are among the best known in the country through their lectures, research and publications, including online publications and textbooks. Our students and faculty perform community service in multiple venues from local neighborhoods, the Blackbelt region, and third-world countries. Perhaps our best known service is the excellent patient care provided in our UAB Eye Care clinic, a 34,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that covers everything from primary eye care, including the dispensing of eyeglasses and contacts, to the treatment of ocular disease, dry eye, myopia control, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and pediatric vision care.

We now have more than 1,500 graduates who form one of the most involved and caring group of alumni of any school in the country. They offer their support whenever and wherever asked by sponsoring many of our student programs, serving as student mentors, assisting with the recruitment of new students, serving on optometric association and legislative committees and, most recently, generously providing financial support to help complete the UAB Eye Care renovation. Our graduates represent the best of what the UAB School of Optometry is all about. We produce highly skilled and compassionate optometrists who care about the patients they serve, the communities in which they practice and UAB.

Please take a few moments to learn more about us—our programs, faculty, facilities, history and the reasons why the UAB School of Optometry is so special. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions or would like to visit us.


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Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO
UAB School of Optometry