Sight Savers America President & CEO, Jeff Haddox retires

Published 12:42 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

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BIRMINGHAM – In 1978, Jeff Haddox began a 25-year career in eye research. During this time, he authored 41 publications in scientific journals and received five United States and international patents on drugs designed to prevent ocular inflammation.  In 1997, utilizing connections and experience gained from his scientific research career, he founded Sight Savers of Alabama (now Sight Savers America)(SSA).  His goal was to ensure that every child in Alabama would achieve his or her best possible vision. After 26 years, he has decided to transition out of his role as President & CEO of SSA, at the age of 70. 

Haddox has been recognized by numerous state and national organizations for his leadership and the impact of SSA. Among others, Haddox received the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation’s 2010 Robert G. Sherrill, Jr. M.D. Quality Award as a senior Alabama health care leader and champion of quality, the American Optometric Association’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award for contributions to the advancement of vision rehabilitation care, and the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama’s Visionary Award for serving the eye care needs of children. 

 The eye care, philanthropic, business and governmental communities, as well as national partners, have contributed to the success of SSA. This success was also made possible due to unwavering dedication from Margie Haddox, the SSA board and staff, as well as numerous individuals and organizations in Alabama and across the U.S. The SSA model for children’s eye care is now recognized across the nation for two major accomplishments; case management of children’s follow-up eye care for statewide populations and the provision of high-tech vision and blind aids for children on a citywide, statewide and regional scale.

 As of October 16, 2023, SSA’s new CEO will be Dawn DeCarlo, OD, PhD.  Dr. DeCarlo has been a member of the UAB Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences and Director of the UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation since 2005.  She and SSA have had a long-term partnership providing low vision evaluations and life-changing high-tech vision aids for Alabama children and adults with low vision. 

“This is the right time for a change in leadership,” said Haddox. “SSA is in an excellent programmatic and financial position. Programs, partnerships and funding have expanded to the highest level in SSA’s history and the executive team has almost four decades of experience.”  He is confident that someone with Dr. DeCarlo’s unique qualifications and national recognition will carry on this legacy.  Haddox will continue as a part-time special projects leader and advisor to the new CEO.

Mr. Haddox would like to thank all friends and partners of SSA.  He said, “I will be forever grateful for the eye care community’s incredible support.  It has led to our growth and sustainability.  Over 800,000 children with eye care needs, and more recently adults, have benefitted from this generosity!”  

SSA now serves the eye care needs of 100,000 children each year in 16 states. For more information on Sight Savers America, please visit