Dr. Micah Kinney is the 30th Aerospace optometrist for the U.S. Navy and currently assigned as the Aerospace/Research Optometrist at the Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton, Dayton, OH. In this position, he works with DoD aviation communities to enhance performance, understand visual needs, determine vision standards, and protect warfighter vision.

Degree Awarded: OD, PhD

Graduation Year: 2010, 2016

Why did you choose UABSO?
My dad graduated from UABSO, and as I grew up I would hear all about how great UABSO was and how much my family loved Alabama. An appealing aspect of UABSO was how the medical professions are integrated into basic science courses. Sitting with medical and dental students really helped to enforce the “medical team” approach to healthcare.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?
As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work as an optometry technician in private practice. The doctor I worked for has served in the Army and was very engaging in showing me pathology, teaching me optics and anatomy, and making work enjoyable. It is very rewarding to watch as patients come in with a blurry vision and then we are able to instantly help them see clearly with glasses, contacts, or surgical options.

What’s some advice you’d give current students?
Do not limit yourself in the scope of practice you can perform. There are so many opportunities beyond clinical care for optometrists. Visual performance, enhancement, protection, and integration with computers/machines require optometrists to make sure that an individual can do their job and be effective. It is very important that as a profession we look for these opportunities and make sure we are part of the solution. UABSO does a great job to prepare students. We are taught at the highest scope of practice and should always seek to expand our profession. Consider outside of the box opportunities and always look for ways to give back to the community.

micah mckinneyWhat would you say is your greatest accomplishment outside of the field of optometry?
I would say my greatest accomplishment outside of optometry is being a husband and father to three boys and one daughter. I hope to be able to give them opportunities to be their best and to be good citizens.

What has been your greatest adventure since graduation?
In 2018 I had the opportunity for field testing an eye protection prototype for aircrew. We were flying about 200’ above the Gulf of Mexico at night and I was in the back of the plane throwing sea flares into the Gulf while the ramp was open. As a Navy Aerospace optometrist, we get to go through ground school and primary training with Student Naval Aviators and Student Naval Flight Officers. We learn about aerodynamics, rules of flight, weather, engines, navigation, water and land survival, and aeromedical concerns/considerations. After successfully completing these courses we get flight time in the T-6 Texan II and TH-57 Jet Ranger. Flying over Pensacola, FL, in these aircraft and learning what it feels like to pull G’s or what a black night over water looks like was incredible.