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. 

A UAB School of Optometry faculty member has been named the American Optometric Association (AOA) Optometric Educator of the Year for the third time in less than five years. Caroline Pate, OD, FAAO, is the 2020 recipient of the award.

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) has awarded Kwaku Osei, OD, Vision Science Graduate Program student, the 2020 Mike Daley/Essilor Ezell Fellowship.

Kelly K. Nichols, OD MPH, PhD, FAAO, dean of the UAB School of Optometry, has been elected to serve on the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) Board of Directors in the class of 2020-2023.

Getting through professional school is challenging. Some students, like Kate Daluyin, 2020 class president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, would compare it to running a marathon. For the School of Optometry’s class of 2020, this rang true — especially in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read more on UAB News

 

Terri Call, OD, has been awarded the UAB 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is based solely on outstanding accomplishments in teaching as demonstrated, in part, by her thorough knowledge of the subject area and exemplary classroom instruction. 

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 Mary Jean Sanspree, PhD, retired UAB School of Optometry faculty member. Sanspree served as director and associate scientist of education and outreach in vision research at the school. She was part of a team that saw a need for eye care in Alabama’s Black Belt. After being awarded multiple grants to initiate a longitudinal study about eye health in our Black Belt counties, outreach to the Black Belt that continues today through Community Eye Care (CEC) began.  

After 42 years at the UAB School of Optometry, Michael Loop, PhD, associate professor of Optometry and Vision Sciences, retires effective April 30th.

UAB Eye Care, the clinical arm of the UAB School of Optometry, has introduced telehealth eye care. The new service is in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and allows patients to receive eye care without leaving home. 

Elora Robbani, a fourth year student at the UAB School of Optometry, has been selected for an Essilor internship this summer for which only one fourth year student is selected annually.

 
UABSO Family:
 
This time in our society has proven to be challenging for us all and I wanted to take this time to let you know we are thinking about you, your families, and your practices. I also want to provide an update about how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected daily operations at the UAB School Optometry. Because this is an unprecedented situation, the school is experiencing frequent changes and disruptions that affect our students, faculty, and staff. Having said that, we are a family, and while small, UABSO is mightier than ever!
 

Michael Savage, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, has been awarded an NEI/NIH F32 grant to study the relationship between neuronal orientation and color selectivity in the primary visual cortex.

The grant is for three years, totaling $136,823. It has been 20 years since one of these competitive postdoctoral grants from NEI was won by someone in the UAB School of Optometry.

Lawrence Sincich, Ph.D., associate professor and interim director of the graduate program in the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has received a grant renewal of $1.02 million from the National Institutes of Health, continuing his research on imaging and microstimulation of photoreceptors, the cells in the eyes that allow people to see.

Read more on UAB News

Timothy Kraft, PhD, professor and interim associate dean for research in the UAB School of Optometry, has received a grant renewal of $464,046 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), continuing research about the comprehensive quantification of cone dynamics. The cost for all 4-years is $1.77 million, and this notice is the award of year two of the four years. 

Researcher Om Srivastava, PhD, professor at the UAB School of Optometry, hopes to slow the progression of age-related cataracts, the most common causes of blindness in the world.

The UAB School of Optometry offers advanced clinical education in specialty areas of optometry through three in-house and four affiliated residency programs. Currently, seven residency programs offer a total of 12 positions. Two of the available positions are in the specialty area of Pediatric Optometry. One is an in-house position at UAB, while the other is at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, TN.

A prospective applicant asked Sarah Galt, OD, FAAO, about her experience at UAB as a pediatric resident. The following is her response. If you’re debating the benefits of a pediatric residency, Galt’s comments should be of great benefit.

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 Steven Schwartz, OD, PhD, SUNY College of Optometry professor. He has written textbooks that have been used by thousands of optometry students here in America and abroad. His first book, Visual Perception: A Clinical Orientation, was first published in 1994. The fifth edition came out in 2017. His other book, Geometrical and Visual Optics: A Clinical Introduction, is now in its third edition. 

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 Paula Newsome, OD, MS, FAAO, FAARM, CHC. She opened the first optometry practice owned by an African-American female in the state of North Carolina.

By Satina Richardson

Maggie Bailey, OD, assistant professor, has been named chief of the Vision Therapy Clinic (VT), a specialty clinic within UAB Eye Care that provides treatment for children and adults with eye teaming, focusing and tracking disorders.