Vision Therapy Clinic

When the waiting list for an appointment at the Vision Therapy Clinic at UAB Eye Care reached nearly 50 patients, it was clear that more space was needed, recalls Kristine Hopkins, O.D., M.S.P.H., associate professor at the UAB School of Optometry.

The clinical service had outgrown the space used to provide weekly care for about 36 patients—mostly children—with conditions that affect eye teaming, visual tracking and focusing.

Fourteen UAB School of Optometry faculty, six residents, one postdoctoral fellow and one graduate student are presenting at the 2017 American Academy of Optometry meeting, which is being held Oct. 11-14 in Chicago at McCormick Place. The presentations include research, lectures and workshops on a variety of optometry and vision science topics.

The annual Academy meeting includes nearly 300 hours of lectures and workshops, symposia and scientific lecture and poster presentations. It offers a wide variety of clinically relevant continuing education courses and cutting edge research in the clinical and vision sciences.

Anna Ablamowicz, O.D.; Stephanie Cox, O.D.; Andrew Pucker, O.D., Ph.D.; Jillian Ziemanski, O.D., M.S.

In exchange for biomedical research in vision science, the National Institutes of Health are repaying the student debt of four faculty members at the UAB School of Optometry.

The faculty members who have contracts with the NIH Loan Repayment Programs, established by Congress to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers, are: Anna Ablamowicz, O.D., clinical assistant professor; Stephanie Cox, O.D., clinical assistant professor; Andrew Pucker, O.D., Ph.D., assistant professor; and Jillian Ziemanski, O.D., M.S., clinical assistant professor.

The programs repay up to $35,000 annually of a researcher’s qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research.

Zachary McCarty awarding Douglas Clark a plaque for alumnus of the year

The UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association named Douglas Clark, O.D., its alumnus of the year at the annual Continuing Education and Alumni Weekend, held Aug. 18-20 on the UAB campus.

Clark, who graduated from the School of Optometry in 1982, was named the alumnus of the year based on his service to the School of Optometry, to the profession and to his community. Each year, the board members of the Alumni Association select a member as the alum of the year based on these criteria.

The UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association inducted new officers, and scholarships were awarded to students at the annual Continuing Education and Alumni Weekend, held Aug. 18-20 on the UAB campus.

Two new faculty members have joined the UAB School of Optometry as clinical assistant professors.

Maggie Bailey, O.D., sees patients and works with students in Pediatrics, Primary Care and Community Eye Care at UAB Eye Care, which is the School of Optometry’s clinical operation.

Front of UAB Eye Care building

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry received accreditation for the next eight years by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education—the longest time period permitted by ACOE policies.

The School of Optometry was visited by the ACOE in April 2017 and received a final report in July 2017. The next on-site visit will occur in April 2025.

As an optometrist in Greenville, South Carolina, Johndra McNeely, O.D., has organized several vision screenings for the Hispanic population in her community. Altogether, she helped to provide care for more than 140 patients, including some with advanced glaucoma that otherwise might have gone untreated.

Sommer Thompson smiling

The UAB School of Optometry announced that its new senior director of development will be Sommer Thompson, a development professional with more than nine years of experience at UAB.

Thompson, who most recently served as director of development at UAB’s Collat School of Business, will join the School of Optometry on July 10.

Lauren Boudousquie, Jessica Boyd, Samantha Elliott and Natalie West standing in front of Capitol Hill

Four students at the UAB School of Optometry visited Capitol Hill on June 22 to meet with legislators and advocate for optometrists in Alabama.

Students Lauren Boudousquie, Jessica Boyd, Samantha Elliott and Natalie West joined School of Optometry faculty and other Alabama optometrists to meet with Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and staff members from the offices of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.).

UAB Myopia Control Clinic graphic

Two UAB School of Optometry faculty recently spoke to Birmingham pediatricians about the recommended guidelines for treating myopic pediatric patients and shared research about slowing myopia progression over time.

Katherine Weise, O.D., professor at the School of Optometry, and Andrew Pucker, O.D., assistant professor, spoke to grand rounds attendees at Children’s of Alabama on Thursday, June 22. Their presentation, “Controlling Nearsightedness: Headlines, Hyperbole, and Hypotheses vs. The Evidence,” also included information about the newly developed Myopia Control Clinic at UAB Eye Care.

If one or both parents of a child is myopic, or nearsighted, odds are the child will also develop myopia, explained Weise.

Elizabeth Steele accepting Optometric Educator of the Year Award

When Elizabeth Steele, O.D., joined the UAB School of Optometry nearly 13 years ago as a faculty member, she did not know how much she would love teaching.

“It was one of those crazy little choices you make that shapes your entire life,” she said Wednesday, June 21, to attendees of the American Optometric Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Two research presentations by UAB School of Optometry faculty and students were identified as some of the newest and most innovative topics at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

The presentations are part ARVO’s list of Emerging Trends and Hot Topics, which is compiled by ARVO committee members. The 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting was held May 7-11 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Family Legacy Alumni standing together at UAB's Optometry 2017 Graduate Ceremony

When the moment came for Stephanie Ross, O.D., to walk to the front of the stage and receive her doctoral hood at the UAB School of Optometry’s Convocation and Hooding Ceremony on May 12, the two faculty members performing the ceremonial hoodings stepped aside, and Ross’s parents stepped forward.

Graphic for UAB Dry Eye Relief Clinic

A new clinic at UAB Eye Care is providing a specialized approach to treating dry eye disease.

The Dry Eye Relief Clinic offers the full scope of treatment services for the common disorder that occurs when tears aren’t able to provide enough lubrication for the eyes.

Carey Dillard being hooded at her Convocation and Hooding Ceremony

Shortly after Carey Dillard, O.D., joined UAB Eye Care as a clinic coordinator, she knew she had found her calling.

Dillard had known she wanted a career in health care, but she had been struggling to find the right avenue to pursue.

Kate Oliver smiling

A recent graduate of the UAB School of Optometry was named a recipient of the 2017 Johnson & Johnson Vision Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care.

Kate Oliver, O.D., received the award, which is presented by the American Optometric Foundation, for her demonstration of excellent knowledge of the contact lens field and her skillful and professional care of contact lens patients during her optometric education.

Andrew Pucker and Cameron Postnikoff smiling

A faculty member and a doctoral student at the UAB School of Optometry were awarded university funding for their research on dry eye disease.

Andrew Pucker, O.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, and Cameron Postnikoff, MASc, a doctoral student in the School of Optometry's Vision Science Graduate Program, received $10,000 as part of the UAB Faculty Development Grant Program for their proposal, “Tear Transcriptome Associations with Dry Eye Disease.”

Roderick Fullard receiving the Dean's Distinguished Service Award

After leading the UAB School of Optometry through its accreditation process for the second time, Roderick Fullard, BScOptom, Ph.D., associate professor, was awarded the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award.

He was presented the award, which recognizes exemplary leadership and service, at the School of Optometry's 44th Annual Convocation and Hooding Ceremony, held May 12 at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center on the UAB Campus.