With 60 new students and two returning students, the UAB School of Optometry’s class of 2024 is the largest class in the school’s 51-year history.

By Janene Sims, OD, PhD, UAB School of Optometry associate professor

The year 2020 has had many challenges: racial injustice, police brutality, and COVID-19. Late summer gave us a glimmer of hope. Deaths due to the coronavirus are on the decline. Schools and businesses are slowly reopening. The US economy is trying to rebound. Professional sports are back in action. Universities and businesses are having important conversations regarding race and inequities. Just when you think that things are beginning to improve, we have another shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Mr. Blake was shot seven times in the back in front of his children. This outraged the citizens of Kenosha, so many took to the streets in protest.

By Satina Richardson

Jacob McKinstry’s mother recognized there was an issue with her son’s learning when his participation in three- and four-year-old kindergarten decreased. The school principal said he had ADHD, which wasn’t confirmed. He took a battery of tests that included an IQ test, an auditory test and two exams by ophthalmologists. Each test found no significant issues. His mother continued to research what could be happening with her son. Two and a half years later, following a Visual Efficiency Evaluation, vision therapy was recommended. 

By Satina Richardson

Our community and nation are confronting the ugly truth of our long legacy of systemic racial injustice after the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others who have suffered and died due to prejudice and racial injustice in America. In response, the UAB School of Optometry has launched EyeCare4Justice.

UAB Eye Care is one of the first clinics in the country to have MiSight® 1 day contact lenses, a daily wear, single use contact lens that slows the progression of myopia (nearsightedness). The clinic is the clinical arm of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.

By Brianna Hoge and Satina Richardson

Jessica Jasien, Ph.D., a summer graduate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, is setting her sights high after graduation.

By Ranjit Kaur, OD, 2020 Family Practice Resident 

The pandemic took a hard grip on the healthcare system, including Optometry. The last few months introduced us to challenges we were not quite prepared for as a healthcare system, and Doctors of Optometry have stood strong in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We focused on providing urgent and emergent care to our patients to reduce the burden on emergency departments, incorporating telemedicine into the practice in order to reduce exposure risk to the more vulnerable patients, and adopting a virtual clinical education platform for our students learning from home.

By UAB Eye Care Pediatric Optometry Services

As schools choose virtual learning and device-based instruction to enhance the education of children, the eyes are an important consideration. Below are facts, impacts, and recommendations for schools, teachers, and parents.  

In recognition of the year 2020 and the significance of 20/20 in the field of optometry, the UAB School of Optometry is recognizing alumni whose careers have impacted communities, set precedents, or moved the profession forward in some way. With this in mind, meet Ian Benjamin Gaddie, OD, FAAO. 

By Satina Richardson

Marina Gorbatyuk, PhD, associate professor, has been invited by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a peer reviewer in the study section for the Biology of the Visual Systems Study Section, Center for Scientific Review. The appointment is for 4-years and places Gorbatyuk at the heart of the NIH’s grant process. 

A residency at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute (VEI) in Nashville, TN, has launched, bringing the total number of residency programs available at the UAB School of Optometry to seven, with a total of 12 positions. This is one of two pediatric residencies available. The other is in-house at UAB Eye Care, the clinical arm of the UAB School of Optometry. 

By Satina Richardson


Robert Kleinstein, OD, MPH, PhD, retired UAB School of Optometry professor, has been appointed Professor Emeritus in the Department of Optometry and Vision Science by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. Kleinstein retired from the UAB School of Optometry in 2019 following 45 years of service.

By Satina Richardson

Two students from the UAB School of Optometry are now national leaders of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA). Walter Jackson has been elected President, while Dana Shannon will serve as Vice President. Both are fourth year students.

By Satina Richardson


Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, has received the Contact Lens Cornea Section Legends Award from the American Optometric Association (AOA).

This award is given to optometrists who demonstrate intellectual depth and passion toward contact lenses, cornea, or refractive technology and quest for continued learning and firm foundation of basic and clinical sciences of contact lenses and anterior segment. Recipients also must exhibit exceptional leadership skills and mentoring, innovation, and desire to advance research.

In recognition of the year 2020 and the significance of 20/20 in the field of optometry, the UAB School of Optometry is recognizing alumni whose careers have impacted communities, set precedents, or moved the profession forward in some way. With this in mind, meet Wendy Marsh-Tootle, OD, MS, FAAO.  

The Centers for Disease Control recommends people avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands to help prevent spreading germs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But what about those who wear prescription contacts and glasses? Are there added risks to touching your eyes during a pandemic like COVID-19? Ophthalmologists and optometrists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham provide answers to help you in your decision-making.

Read more on UAB News

Kelli Cannon, Vision Science Graduate Program student, is one of six UAB graduate students to be awarded Graduate Research Scholars Program awards for the upcoming fall semester, through Alabama Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Researchers who made a knock-in mouse-model of the genetic disorder retinitis pigmentosa 59, or RP59, expected to see retinal degeneration and retinal thinning. As reported in the journal Cells, they surprisingly found none, calling into question the commonly accepted — though never proved — mechanism for RP59. 

Read more on UAB News 

by Satina Richardson

Felton Perry, OD, had never planned to have a career in optometry. Forty-five years after beginning work at the UAB School of Optometry, he has retired knowing that he had his perfect career that filled the need for eye care in Alabama communities. 

The UAB School of Optometry began treating patients in Alabama’s Black Belt communities through a formally organized program in 2002. Since then, more than 13,000 patients in this underserved area of the state have received access to care from the school’s vision scientists, doctors, and students.