The Blind K Run

Jason MillsappsUncategorized

On Saturday, November 7th, University Eye Specialists teamed up with The Blind K to host a run to raise donations to provide for individuals around the globe in need of cataract surgery.  The “BLIND K” RUN / WALK is an organized event intended to bring awareness to needless blindness around the world. 40+ million individuals live with unnecessary sight impairments. A simple surgery or refractive exam can impact their lives.  The event was a huge success, and the University Eye Specialists team was able to raise enough funds to cover the cost of over 100 cataract procedures.  Our physicians know, firsthand, the joy that comes in restoring ones sight – this platform was a unique opportunity to where our doctors were able to extend their reach into parts of the world where vision care is not nearly as accessible and provide the same life-altering assistance.  It was truly a fun, rewarding, day that was as much a blessing to our practice as it was to the recipients of the event.  Thank you, to all who supported us in our Blind K endeavor – we look forward to continuing this event for years to come!

Tennessee Volunteers

Jason MillsappsUncategorized

Our doctors are proud to be the preferred providers for the University of Tennessee Athletics programs since 1978. There is a certain joy that comes in knowing that we are making a difference through serving these world-class athletes. When competing at the SEC collegiate level these players choose the University Eye Specialists advantage – one reason why we are so proud that WE KEEP THE VOLS IN FOCUS! It’s a great day to be a Tennessee Vol and always great day for an eye examination. For appointments please call us @ 865-244-2020

Doctor Spotlight: Hannah Hughes, OD

Jason MillsappsUncategorized

Dr. Hannah Hughes joined University Eye Specialists in 2020 as a comprehensive medical optometrist.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from Northern Kentucky University she decided to follow her passion and entered the prestigious Indiana University School of Optometry. While in optometry school she was able to immerse herself in studying the complexities of the human eye and visual system.  Dr. Hughes stood out among her peers as a rising star and was incredibly active – volunteering with the Special Olympics and the Optometric Services to Humanity organization, amongst others.

Dr. Hughes further developed her enthusiasm for eyecare as she was able to complete her externship with the Naval Health Clinic in Quantico, Virginia.  In this capacity she had the proud honor of caring for a high volume of active-duty military personnel.  Dr. Hughes was able to foster this passion as she transitioned her externship to the Tallahassee Veteran’s Administration where she, again, was able to treat patients who served our country and had diverse visual needs.

Outside of routine eye care, Dr. Hannah Hughes specializes in pediatric optometry, contact lens fitting, and the diagnosis and management of ocular disease.  Her practice also focuses on dry eye intervention and treatment, recognizing that in today’s digital age there is an increasing need for this specialized care.  Dr. Hughes has also contributed to a number of projects, including providing consultative research within the field of anterior eye tomography.

While away from the office, Dr. Hughes is a familiar face at the Ice Chalet on Lebanon Street in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she can pursue her other passions including coaching competitive figure skaters – a sport that has been a large part of her life since she was a young girl.  As an athlete, Dr. Hughes enjoys going for a run or hiking amongst the breathtaking scenery of East Tennessee, where she is often joined by her spoiled rescue puppy, Burd.

Doctor Spotlight: Rachel Schneider, MD

Jason MillsappsUncategorized

Dr Rachel Schneider Spotlight

Dr. Rachel Schneider joined University Eye Specialists as a general ophthalmologist, specializing in cataract procedures, in 2020 – welcoming the opportunity to practice medicine against the beautiful backdrop of the Smoky Mountains.  Dr. Schneider’s passion for eyecare began to develop as she found herself captivated by the intricacies of the eye during medical school.  As the Team Captain for the University of North Carolina Varsity Gymnastic team, and as a Junior Olympic National Champion, Dr. Schneider originally had an interest in orthopedics. It was after seeing, first-hand, the impact of restoring sight that she changed her trajectory and devoted herself to the calling of ophthalmology.

Dr. Schneider completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina and went on to study medicine at the prestigious Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University where she graduated cum laude, receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree in 2016.  Dr. Schneider continued her medical studies through Tulane University where she completed her ophthalmology residency.

Dr. Rachel Schneider is highly awarded and a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the George McClellan Surgical Honor Society.  She enjoys giving back to the medical community through various projects and presentations and has contributed to a number of scholarly works including a textbook that is used to shape current medical students understanding of human anatomy.

Dr. Schneider’s interests outside of caring for patients include fostering her love of fitness and gymnastics – she is involved with a number of organizations that enable her to motivate and train young athletes.  She also loves to cook and discover new recipes from a wide variety of cultural tastes including Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Thai.  East Tennessee’s picturesque landscape has been a dream-come-true for Dr. Schneider, as she is able to stay active while exploring the majesty of good ol’ Rocky Top!


Eye on Immunity

Jason MillsappsUncategorized


As an ophthalmology clinic, we were all too excited for the year 20/20, little did we know that we would be faced with navigating through a world-wide pandemic.  The COVID-19 crisis has rejuvenated public interest in the field of immune system health.  As we all take steps to protect ourselves, and those we come into contact with, it is helpful to know that there are quite a few proven habits that we can adopt that will boost and strengthen our immunity.  Our immune systems are an incalculably complex network of cells that protect our bodies against potentially harmful pathogens, while also serving to limit any dangerous effects of noninfectious agents such as sunburns.

Below are some of the more common ways in which you can immediately start making a difference in your personal immunity:

Eating a healthy diet.  There is no substitute for a healthy diet.  The phrase “you are what you eat” holds much truth.  Plant-based foods such as leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and herbs are chock full of immune-bolstering vitamins and nutrients that will fuel our bodies defensive capabilities.  The more colorful your diet, the more likely you are to be achieving the nutrient goals you need.  Vitamin D and C are often cited as important for our overall system immune health.

Sleep.  Make sure that you are able to get enough sleep.  Research indicates that individuals need a minimum of 6 hours of sleep to be able to perform at an optimal level.  Our bodies heal and regenerate while we sleep.  If we are depriving ourselves of restfulness our immune systems are not performing at an optimal capacity and we are more susceptible to disease contraction.

Exercising Regularly.  Did you know that studies support the findings that those who exercise regularly have lower incidences of acute illness?  Regular, habitual exercise can greatly lower your risk for developing chronic diseases, as well as viral and bacterial infections.  On top of these benefits, we also know that exercising releases endorphins which lower our stress levels.  This is important because we know that maintaining a high level of stress is one of the easiest ways in which we can compromise our immune system.

What does all of this mean?  At University Eye Specialists we are taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure that we are protecting those who entrust us with their care.  We are limiting visitors, requiring masks, and rigorously disinfecting our offices (amongst many other precautions) – but there are things that you can do as well to keep yourself and your family safe during this season.  Start incorporating some of the above recommendations into your daily routine to ensure that you are maximizing your bodies innate germ-fighting capabilities.  University Eye Specialists has been helping East Tennesseans see better since 1935 and has been proudly serving the University of Tennessee Athletics Department since 1978.  Call 865-244-2020 to schedule a comprehensive examination.

Clinical Research at University Eye Specialists

Jason MillsappsUncategorized

One of the foundational principles upon which University Eye Specialists was established is our focus on advancing and improving eye care.  We believe that it is our obligation to use our unique skills and expertise to benefit the field of ophthalmology as a whole.  Conducting clinical research is crucial to the betterment of eye care and improving patient outcomes – and this is something that we are very proud of!  University Eye Specialists’ clinical research team lead by Dr. Kenneth Olander, MD, PhD, is the only ophthalmological study site in our area that performs a wide variety of studies on pharmaceutical drops and medical devices.  Dr. Olander has over 40 years of clinical and research experience and has performed over 125 studies within the eyecare industry.  Research assistant, Kim Rivera, COA, has worked alongside Dr. Olander on over 15 studies over the last five years. They are joined by Katie McCammon and Kim Partridge in our state-of-the-art research department.  Currently, we are conducting research on various studies including a glaucoma medical device study, a generic vs. brand name pharmaceutical study, a new glaucoma medication study, and a study to evaluate the effectiveness of a new drop for patients who suffer from dry eyes.  Through leading this initiative, we know that we are making a tangible difference for our patients – helping East Tennessee Live Life in Focus.

The Miraculous Visual Pathway

Jason MillsappsUncategorized


Winter is upon us!  In East Tennessee we are fortunate to have a “front row seat” to nature at its finest, with the Smoky Mountains as the perfect backdrop.  The majesty of the season begs us to contemplate the intricate gift of sight.  While the visual pathway is a complex system involving millions of parts working in harmony, a basic overview is helpful in understanding just how wonderful and marvelous our eyes truly are.  We see the world around us through light that is reflected off of the objects that we view and enter through our eyes.  This light is first met by the front surface of our eyes, the cornea.  The cornea is responsible for providing roughly 2/3rds of the refractive ability of the eye and bends the light so that it can properly focus onto the retina.  Next, the light passes through our crystalline lens which is able to automatically focus up to a certain age, and fine-tune the light depending on how far you are from the object you are viewing.  Lastly, the light is brought to a singular focal point on the macula of the retina, which is densely packed with cone photoreceptor cells responsible for sharp, central color vision.  These photoreceptor cells are able to translate the varying wavelengths of light into separate messages that are carried off to the brain and interpreted as an image.  It is almost too intricate to contemplate!  There are also many other parts of the eye that aide in this process, each responsible for its own part of the visual system.  Some awe-inspiring thoughts to contemplate:

  • The tear film covers the anterior of our eyes, and must provide a smooth, consistent surface for us to be able to focus light properly.  This is largely accomplished through blinking.
  • The cornea is made of the same fibrous material as the sclera, which is the white of our eyes; however, the collagen sheets of the cornea lay parallel while the collagen of the sclera lays perpendicular and becomes opaque.  If the sclera were clear, like the cornea, our eyes would allow too much light to enter.  It would be overwhelming, and we would not be able to see anything!
  • The iris is comprised of two main muscles, a dilator and sphincter.  As we go about our day, these muscles are working tirelessly to regulate the diameter of the pupil to allow just the right amount of light to pass though for image formation.
  • Since light refracts through both the cornea and crystalline lens, this is called a double refraction.  This actually causes us to form images upside down, but our brain intelligently knows to flip the image for us.  Similarly, where the optic nerve enters the back of the eye there are no photoreceptor cells (which receive light and transmit information to the brain) – but our brain is able to auto-fill this blind spot, so we see a complete image.

The next time you are caught up in surveying the beauty around you take a moment to contemplate just how awesome and precious the gift of sight truly is!

Doctor Spotlight: Jennifer Maples

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

Dr. Jennifer Maples specializes in medical optometry and contact lenses. After graduating with highest honors from Middle Tennessee State University, with a degree in chemistry, she decided to pursue her doctorate in optometry. While studying optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Dr. Maples developed her passion for patient interaction and caring for patients holistically, rather than just as a “set of eyes.” After graduating optometry school in 2004, doctor Maples was able to complete her residency training at the James H. Quillen Veterans Medical Center located in Mountain Home, Tennessee. She viewed this as a distinctive honor and privilege, being able to provide care and vision to those who have bravely served our country.
Dr. Maples is board certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and The American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry. She is also a member of the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Maples applies her extensive knowledge and practical abilities to improving the quality of life of her patients on a daily basis.
During her time at the UAB School of Optometry, Dr. Maples was also an active member of Students in Optometric Service to Humanity (SOSH), Beta Sigma Kappa National Optometric Honor Society, and UABSO student government. Dr. Maples traveled as a volunteer with SOSH on Mission trips to both Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Maples finds interactions with her patients very rewarding. One of her greatest joys, as an optometrist, is knowing that her patients are informed and understand their unique eye health situation. Interestingly, Dr. Maples initially wanted to study education and pursue a teaching degree. Her patients quickly pick up on this quality, as she reflects an undeniable passion for patient education during the examination.
Outside of the office, Dr. Maples enjoys exploring nature through hiking and bicycling. She also has a personal interest in neurobiology and the field of mindfulness – above all, Dr. Maples treasures spending quality time with her husband and two precious young boys.

Advancing Progressive Lens Technology

Jason MillsappsUncategorized

Progressive lenses, which are commonly referred to as “no-line bifocals” have dramatically improved in both quality and usability over the last few years.  The current generation of lenses have much wider distance, intermediate and near zones. This translates into improved vision at all focal lengths. These new progressive lenses use advanced algorithms to calculate custom optics for the wearer.  Impressively, theses lenses require far more data than their predecessors. Unlike traditional lenses which only require a pupillary distance and optical center height measurements for fitting, these lenses also require a vertex distance and angle-of-wrap measurement.  The extra data that is collected during the fitting process is used to generate the design of the lens and even compensate the prescription. This is a stunning improvement over traditional “no-line” multifocal lenses which offer similar viewing angles and wearer experience for all prescriptions.  University Eye Specialists offers the highest quality, digitally surfaced lenses made by Zeiss. We want the same excellence of care that you receive from our doctors during the examination to manifest in the way you view the world through your new eyeglasses. Want to learn more? Stop by one of our locations or give us a call @ 1-865-244-2020.

Doctor Spotlight: Herbert Glatt

Jason MillsappsUncategorized

Herbert J. Glatt, MD
Oculoplastic Surgery

Dr. Glatt is a specialist in Oculoplastic Surgery whose practice is entirely focused on eyelid and tear duct surgery. He joined University Eye Specialists in 1989 as the first fellowship-trained Oculoplastic Surgeon in East Tennessee. Since that time he has performed over 14,000 operations.

Dr. Glatt has specialized training and extensive experience in performing cosmetic and functional blepharoplasty for excess upper lid skin and ptosis surgery for drooping upper eyelids. He combines thoughtful assessment of the potential effect of surgery on the health of the eye, selection of the most appropriate surgical procedure or procedures and meticulous performance of the surgery.

Dr. Glatt also performs surgery to correct lower lid abnormalites, such as lids that roll in (entropion), lids that roll out (ectropion) and lids that are pulled downward (retraction). He has spent decades caring for patients with eyelid skin cancers that require surgical removal and subsequent eyelid reconstruction that often requires unique techniques specific to the eyelid. Dr. Glatt removes benign eyelid lesions, such as moles, cysts and skin tags. He also performs tear duct surgery to help patients who suffer from tearing and/or infections due to blocked tear ducts.

Dr. Glatt has practiced for over 30 years and has performed over 14,000 procedures!