Optometrists and ophthalmologists worked with lead medical personnel from UAB Athletics to develop a special visor to compensate for light sensitivity and worked to modify AHSAA restrictions that prohibited tinted visors or other apparatuses in competition.  

The Heersink Family Foundation has endowed four scholarships at the UAB School of Optometry. The Heersink Family Foundation Scholarship Endowment in Optometry is a gift of $100,000 which will support up to four recipients who plan to serve the Southeastern Alabama region after graduation.

On Tuesday, May 7th, the UABSO Alumni Association hosted a panel discussion for fourth year students entitled, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” The panel consisted of recent graduates, and provided practical advice about the transition from being a student to becoming a practicing optometrist.

Jillian Ziemanski, OD, MS, FAAO, research assistant professor at the UAB School of Optometry, has been awarded a 5-year K23 grant for $717,250 from the National Eye Institute to evaluate mechanisms of autoimmunity in patients who have dry eye disease due to primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS).

UAB School of Optometry Vision Science Graduate program student Jessica V. Jasien, MEn has been named an Ezell Fellow by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF).

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Platinum Certificate program provides UAB teachers with more advanced professional development opportunities in teaching. To receive the certificate, participants must earn at least 100,000 additional points beyond the 100,000 points required for the CTL’s Gold Certificate. These points must include at least 70,000 “Platinum” points which are earned by attending specially designated Platinum-level workshops, through teacher observations, and by completion of a capstone project and presentation. The remaining 30k points may be either Gold, Green, or Platinum. Only six educators total have earned this special designation at UAB since the start of the program in 2018.

Here is a Q&A with Dr. Pucker regarding the benefits of earning the prestigious certificate and challenges along the way:

When Taylor Phillips graduates from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry on May 10, she will be the school’s first dual-degree Doctor of Optometry/Master of Business Administration graduate, in a partnership with UAB’s Collat School of Business.

Dr. Kathy Weise received the 6th annual Hall W. Thompson Hero for Sight Award from Sight Savers America. Weise was selected for the award because of her longtime dedication to improving children’s eye care in Alabama.

For alumni of the University of Alabama at Birmingham schools of MedicineDentistry and Optometry, the commitment to Alabama is significant, and it continues to make a tremendous impact on significant health needs in the state.

UAB Eye Care was named the 2019 Outstanding Student Affairs Partner for their collaborative work with UAB Student Health Services.

On April 15, 2019, fourth-year optometry student Shannon Kirchmer accomplished her goal of running in the world’s oldest annual marathon, the Boston Marathon.

Early detection by comprehensive, dilated examination is a great way to identify current or potential vision problems to assure infants’ eyes are healthy and their vision is properly developing.

Sydney Madrigal a 3rd year student here at UABSO was invited to the Transitions Academy as a Transitions Lens Ambassador. The Transitions Academy is one of the most recognized and unique educational events in the optical industry where attendees participate in professional development and product technology workshops, hear from experts on marketing and industry trends, and learn from their peers at panel discussions.

Following her time at the Academy we caught up with her for a Q&A concerning her time there.

Call is a graduate of UABSO who completed her residency in Geriatric and Low Vision Rehabilitative Optometry at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs. Upon the completion of her residency, she returned to the school as an assistant professor in the summer of 2016 and has continued as full-time faculty and a clinical attending in the Primary Care and Ocular Disease clinics.

The UAB Service Awards proudly honors employees who have made a significant career commitment to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the School of Optometry.

Dr. Andrew Pucker has been named a Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society (SLS). Fellows of the Scleral Lens Education Society are comprised of optometrists, ophthalmologists, and Fellows of the Contact Lens Society of America who have proven themselves in the field of scleral lens fitting.

Your Story

What is your hometown? Clarkesville, GA

When did you graduate from UAB School of Optometry? 1983

Your career in Optometry

Name of your employer(s)/Practice and title, including location. I have a Private Practice, Jenkins Vision Care, in Athens, GA.

Why did you choose a career in Optometry? I chose optometry to be in a health profession that involved a significant amount of math (optics).

Where do you hope to see your optometric career in 5 years? I hope to still be practicing in 5 years, but to be within another 5 years of walking away from practice ( or maybe still practice a day or two per week).

Which optometric issues concern you the most? I am concerned about the corporate influence upon optometry and hope that private, independent optometry can remain a viable option for future O.D.'s.

To help combat the adverse effects that constant computer usage has on a person’s overall eyesight and vision, the University of Alabama School of Optometry has launched a new specialty clinic. The Vision in the Environment and Workplace Clinic, located in UAB Eye Care, can help those who work in front of a computer with vision wellness, ergonomics and overall eye safety.

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Your Story

What is your hometown? 

Greenville, Alabama

When did you graduate from UABSO?


What would you say is your greatest accomplishment outside of the field of Optometry?

I would have to say that convincing my wife, Sarah Ellen, to marry me is my greatest accomplishment outside the field of Optometry.

Savannah Coker, a third year UAB School of Optometry Student, has been elected national secretary of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) and was also named Trustee of the Year. The award is given to one member of the board who has gone above and beyond. This is the second year in a row that a UAB Trustee has won this distinction, and the third straight year that UABSO has been represented on the AOSA Executive Council.