Beyond the familiar eye chart, there is the iPad.
 In the School of Optometry, the high-tech tablet has become a therapeutic tool for correcting amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye.” And it’s just one of several surprising new approaches to pediatric vision care that UAB eye specialists are pioneering. The outcomes could set new standards for treating conditions that can have a long-lasting impact on a child’s vision—and his or her ability to function effectively in school.

Steven Pittler, Ph.D., FAAO, FARVO, director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry Vision Science Research Center, has been awarded an R01 grant to develop mouse model studies of autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (arRP), a prevalent and progressive blinding disorder that currently has no treatment or preventive means.

Your Story

What is your hometown?
My hometown is Birmingham, AL.

When did you graduate from UAB School of Optometry?
I am in the UABSO Class of 2012.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment outside of the field of Optometry?
My greatest accomplishment are my three amazing children, Edith (11), Maddie (7) and Sam (6).

UAB School of Optometry Vision Science Graduate program students Jessica V. Jasien, MEn and Priya M. Pitale, MS, have been named Ezell Fellows by the American Academy  of Optometry Foundation (AAOF). Out of 42 outstanding applicants, only 13 exceptional individuals were selected for this prestigious award.

UAB Eye Care, the clinical arm of the School of Optometry, offers discounts to UAB employees and students. There are savings for those with and without vision insurance.

UAB Eye Care, the clinical arm of the UAB School of Optometry, is now accepting patients in their new specialty clinic called ViEW – Vision in the Environment and Workplace. The ViEW Clinic focuses on vision wellness, ergonomics and eye safety.

Dr. Keshia Elder graduated from UABSO in 1998 with her Doctorate of Optometry and her Master of Science in Vision Science.  After graduation, Dr. Elder served five years in the Medical Service Corps in the United States Navy. She’s held several academic positions prior to rejoining the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.  At the UAB School of Optometry, Dr. Elder teaches in the Clinical Management Course.  In addition, she is the Director of the Externship Program and the Primary Care Clinic Service Director.  Her research interests include the effect of various contact lens materials and corneal surgeries on dry eye syndrome and health disparities related to primary eye care.

For people with perfect vision or those who wear prescription glasses or contacts for everyday corrective use, it can be easy to overlook how essential sight is to a person’s daily life. Even a simple task like opening your eyes and walking forward can be taken for granted.

As Jennifer Kimmett experienced, blurred and distorted vision limited her ability to live a normal life — including the ability to go about her day with her eyes open.

At age 35, Kimmett underwent cataract surgery — the process of removing the clouded lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens — due to iritis complications caused by her lupus diagnosis. When an uncorrectable astigmatism, an irregularly shaped curvature of the lens, developed in her right eye, her vision became debilitating.

Eleven UABSO students have been awarded travel grants to attend November’s American Academy of Optometry (AAO) meeting in San Antonio, November 7-10, 2018.

“Having so many students receive these honors is a testament to our students’ commitments to being active in optometry’s professional organizations and their academic performance,” said Dr. Candice Turner, assistant professor. “Ultimately, our goal as educators is to communicate the importance of community involvement so it continues once they enter the workforce.”

A team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Optometry have been awarded a $1.5 million R01 grant to investigate ways to reduce the development of myopia, also known as nearsightedness.

Timothy Gawne, Ph.D., associate professor of optometry and vision science, was awarded the grant by the National Eye Institute based on research that suggests exposure to narrow-band red light can slow axial elongation.

After 35 years of service, Dr. Rod Fullard, associate professor, is retiring from the UAB School of Optometry.

“Dr. Fullard has been a leader in the school who has risen to the occasion numerous times,” said Dean Kelly Nichols. “His efforts have exemplified the true meaning of stewardship.”

During his tenure at UABSO, Dr. Fullard successfully led the school through its accreditation process twice. He served as chair of the School of Optometry's Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) Self-Study Committee from 2016 to 2017 and 2007 to 2009. The ACOE is the accrediting body for schools and colleges of optometry. For his leadership with this process, he was awarded the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes exemplary leadership and service at Optometry. This special award is given only when the need arises.

Bailey is a 2016 graduate of UABSO who completed her residency in Binocular Vision and Pediatric Optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry/Illinois Eye Institute. She is one of the newest faculty members and was recently named assistant professor. Dr. Bailey provides care and instruction in both the general and pediatric clinics at UAB Eye Care.

With the addition of EyePrint PRO and the purchase of an sMap3D scleral topographer, the UAB School of Optometry now has the most advanced scleral contact lens technology available in its UAB Eye Care clinic. This means that almost all patients who need them can be fitted with a customized scleral contact lens.

Faculty members from the University of Alabama at BirminghamSchool of Optometry have received Pilot Award Grants from the Vision Science Research Center (VSRC), to support new project ideas that could have great potential to advance understanding of ocular disease.

Dr. Narayana Sthanam is retiring from the UAB School of Optometry following 33 years of service. For his longtime commitment to the school, his UABSO family says thank you.

He joined UAB as a junior research associate in Dr. Charles E. Bugg’s lab in 1985 and was appointed as a research assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular genetics in 1990 after receiving an Alabama American Heart Association grant for two years to study Factor D that same year. Dr. Sthanam was appointed Assistant professor in UABSO’s Department of Optometry in 1993 after receiving his first NIH R29 grant to study Factor D. In 1998 he was promoted to associate professor and became a full professor in the school of optometry in 2008.

What is your hometown?

Gallion, Alabama, which is in rural Marengo County, the “suburb” of Demopolis, Alabama.

When did you graduate from UAB School of Optometry?
May 18, 2009 (a date I’ll never forget)

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment outside of the field of Optometry?
Completing the Mercedes Half Marathon (13.1 miles of “fun”)

Dr. Kim Duong recently began treating UAB Eye Care’s first Orthokeratology patient in our new Myopia Control Clinic. The patient’s mother learned about the treatment’s availability at UAB and drives from Auburn for appointments. The goal is to increase the number UAB Eye Care patients needing the treatment in part through referrals from pediatricians and other optometrists. Duong said that many parents don’t think young children can manage contact lenses. After one visit, this patient already takes the lenses in and out with ease.

The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama approved the appointment of Dr. Leo Semes as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Optometry and Vision Science.

“Dr. Semes is one of the most beloved individuals that UABSO has known. I can think of no greater honor to recognize all he’s done in the field as an educator, researcher, mentor and colleague,” said Dean Kelly Nichols.

The UAB SVOSH trip team — including 11 students, three doctors and two School of Optometry clinical staff — provided comprehensive eye exams to 500 Panamanian people in four days. The group also gave out more than 1,200 pairs of eyeglasses and made almost 80 referrals for a variety of ocular disease conditions.

Hannah Greenfield, left, and School of Optometry Dean Nichols at graduation.

Hannah Greenfield, a 2018 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, has been named the first recipient of the American Optometric Student Association’s student of the year award. The inaugural award is given to a student who has shown leadership skills when serving their profession, patients and community.