UAB Eye Care will begin seeing patients in the 1917 clinic – News

This is the first time that eye care will be provided on-site at Clinique 1917.

Written by: Satina Richardson
Media Contact: Anna Jones

UAB Eye CareThis is the first time that eye care will be provided on-site at Clinique 1917. the clinical arm of the University of Alabama at the Birmingham School of Optometry, will begin seeing patients in the 1917 Clinic from February 14. Clinic 1917 is the largest HIV healthcare unit in Alabama and one of the nation’s leading HIV clinics. This is the first time that eye care will be provided on-site at the clinic.

“We have been seeing Clinic 1917 patients at UAB Eye Care on the UAB campus for some time now, but opening an eye clinic in the new Clinic 1917 space will provide patients with easier access to care and will allow for greater continuity of care,” said Andrew Rothstein, OD, UAB Eye Care’s on-site optometrist.

HIV affects many parts of the body, including the eyes. An estimated 70% of people with AIDS suffer from eye problems, including HIV retinopathy and CMV retinitis. HIV retinopathy is the most common eye problem in people living with HIV and is caused by blockage of blood vessels in the retina. This blockage can lead to visual impairment or loss of vision. CMV retinitis is a viral infection of the retina and is a leading cause of blindness in people living with HIV.

Many eye conditions are asymptomatic in the early stages.

“This patient population is at risk for comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes, and vision screenings can help detect these conditions,” Rothstein said. “Early detection and management of these diseases offers a much better prognosis than if they are detected later.”

Rothstein has a passion for community eye care and looks forward to serving the patients of Clinique 1917.

“I was drawn to optometry by the tangible difference eye care can make in patients’ lives,” he said. “It pains me to know that there are people with treatable vision problems who do not receive care due to barriers such as lack of insurance or transportation. The way the 1917 clinic did Breaking down a lot of those barriers is exciting, and I’m happy to be able to play a small part in that.

Optometry students will join Rothstein at this location. In preparation for the 1917 clinic rotation, they must undergo specific training on the effects of HIV/AIDS on the eyes. Diversity, equity and inclusion education specific to this population is also required.

Clinic 1917 is the largest HIV healthcare unit in Alabama and one of the leading HIV clinics in the country. Its mission is to meet the needs of patients, their families and significant others, physicians and scientists, and the community by addressing the urgent and unique issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

“Students will benefit tremendously from this experience,” Rothstein said. “This will allow them to experience managing unique eye conditions that are not often seen in the general population. Additionally, they will have the benefit of seeing how eye care fits into a multidisciplinary setting.

Clinique 1917 offers on-site medical and social services to adult patients living with HIV.

“We are very pleased to add eye care services in addition to all the other services we currently provide onsite,” said jim raper, Ph.D., director of Clinique 1917 and professor at the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine. “Services now include eye care, dental care, mental health care and specialist medical care. The clinic provides care for insured, low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive adults, regardless of any pre-existing or non-HIV-related conditions.

Its mission is to meet the needs of patients, their families and loved ones, health care providers and scientists, and the community by addressing the urgent and unique issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Learn more about the clinic by visiting uabmedicine.org.

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