20/20 Foresight

More than 22,000 patients are seen annually by students and faculty in the School of Optometry’s Low Vision, Pediatric, Contact Lens, and Primary Care Clinics, as well as through community outreach programs.

Optometrists were once seen as having narrow responsibility for eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions, but that view has changed—in part due to the example of UAB’s School of Optometry. When the school opened in 1969, it was the first to be established as an integral part of an academic health center. Founding dean Henry B. Peters, O.D., emphasized a multidisciplinary approach, combining basic health-sciences research, vision science, and hands-on optometry practice.

In 1995, the school was part of another milestone: the Alabama law authorizing optometrists to prescribe drugs for the treatment of certain eye diseases.

The law, now touted as one of the nation’s most comprehensive, passed after years of educational efforts and expert testimony from UAB faculty. They did more than lobby, however. To prepare fellow practitioners for the proposed law, the school taught free courses on therapeutic drugs for Alabama optometrists. Today, optometrists in all 50 states can prescribe drugs to treat eye disease.



Learn more about the School of Optometry's legacy of change in this feature from UAB Optometry magazine.

Read more breakthrough stories in UAB Magazine's new fall issue.