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!

Top Docs 2019

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

University Eye Specialists is proud to announce that Dr. David Harris, Dr. Paul Froula, Dr. Herbert Glatt and Dr. Jonathan Sowell have earned the prestigious title of “Top Doc” for 2019!

Cityview magazine is proud to honor the men and women in our medical community whose dedication and skill have earned the respect of both their patients and peers. Every year, Cityview asks the area’s physicians to tell them who they would choose if they, or a patient, or a loved one needed care. This is not a popularity contest or a paid survey. Rather, these results are the opinions of practicing physicians. This survey recognizes those who have earned the utmost regard of their colleagues and peers.

Dr. Rouse’s Boston Marathon Experience

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

Dr. James Rouse, a Knoxville native, was part of the Team with a Vision in the Boston Marathon. He helped another athlete who was visually impaired finish at the Boston Marathon.

Also, check out the inspiring Team with a Vision organization below:



Hardin Valley Now Open!

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

University Eye Specialists officially opened its new Hardin Valley office on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m.  The new office, which opened to the public on Feb. 7, is located at 2547 Willow Point Way, off Hardin Valley Road in Creek Side Professional Park. It offers convenient parking, expanded on-site diagnostic capabilities and an updated optical department. Guests will enjoy refreshments following the ribbon-cutting.

The office replaces the practice’s former location on Park West Boulevard. The phone number remains the same at 865-690-4731. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

“We are committed to serving patients with integrity and compassion, and we are honored to help our patients keep life in focus,” said Will Pitt, CEO of University Eye Specialists. “This new clinic allows us to offer even more vision care and optical options for our patients at a convenient location and easy access to our front door.”

University Eye Specialists offers a broad spectrum of eye care, including routine exams, glasses, contacts, LASIK, complex eye surgery, surgical treatment of cataracts and treatment of eye diseases. Including the new Hardin Valley office, the practice has five locations with three in Knoxville, one in Maryville and one in Morristown.


Physician Spotlight: Dr. James Doss

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

Dr. Doss hikes and backpacks locally throughout the year but tries to plan a large trip with a friend he met while in medical school, at least annually. This year’s trip was a 5-day, 64 mile backpacking trip through Wyoming’s Wind River Range during the first week of September. Temperatures ranged between the mid 20’s and high 60’s, which were perfect for backpacking.

They hiked from Elkhart Park trail head to Big Sandy Creek trail head and spent nearly 40 miles along the scenic CDT (Continental Divide Trail). Most of the hike was above 10,000 feet and provided plenty of vistas of the scenic landscape. The route was chosen to visit both Island Lake and Cirque of the Towers, two of the three most picturesque parts which draw hikers and photographers to this area of the country.

The Winds are situated just east of Pinedale, WY in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness, about 75 miles southeast of Yellowstone National Park. As can be seen in some of the photos, the wild fires burning in Montana, during that time, did cause some haze, but fortunately did not greatly impact the air quality during the trip. The scenery and beauty of nature is what Dr. Doss cherishes most about these trips, and for that reason he feels blessed for his role in helping others view the world in all its magnificent splendor.

Dr. James T. Doss, Jr. is board certified in comprehensive ophthalmology and specializes in cataract and refractive surgery. He brings a caring and patient oriented focus to the precision detailed field of eye surgery which he is passionate about. Doss grew up on a farm in south Georgia where he had a creative imagination, loved exploring in the woods, and was always fixing something mechanical, even from an early age. While in medical school, he always knew he wanted to be a surgeon, but it wasn’t until a chance encounter with an ophthalmologist during his third year that he realized how well the detailed and intricate microsurgeries of the eye fit his interests and talents. His focus quickly shifted from hand surgery to eye surgery, and that decision was solidified during ophthalmology rotations at The University of Florida and The Medical College of Georgia.

Dr. Doss completed his internship at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in 2005, before his ophthalmology residency in Virginia, where he had the opportunity to spend time in the clinic and O.R. learning from some of the UES physicians. After graduating in 2008 and becoming board certified, he began practicing in Boone, N.C. where he spent two years and was in the process of making partner when his wife realized that she was growing weary of the long, snowy winters there and yearned for the warmer climate and more cosmopolitan life they had known while in Knoxville.
In 2010 Dr. Doss joined UES where he knew he would be practicing among the top Ophthalmologists in the area, using cutting-edge technology, and collaborating with physicians who held themselves to a high ethical standard, while still being able to enjoy the mountainous beauty that drew him to the region initially.

Dr. Doss continues to enjoy living in Knoxville with his wife, Becky, and their two children, Mary Campbell and William, as well as their Siberian Forest cat, Tigger. As a family, they spend countless hours in the mountains hiking, biking, or just playing in one of the area’s many streams. They are members of Church Street United Methodist church and  Dr. Doss is also an avid backpacker and enjoys outdoor photography as well as swimming for exercise.  He feels blessed to be able to perform life-altering vision correcting surgeries for his patients with the help of a highly skilled team of professionals at UES.

Physician Spotlight: Dr. Lauren Harris

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

Dr. Lauren Harris is a cornea specialist. When she started college, she thought she might want to be a pilot; however, her love of medicine took over. She earned a degree in biomedical engineering with highest honors before going on to medical school. Toward the end of medical school, she realized ophthalmology would be a good fit for her as she has a penchant for small things.
Dr. Harris performs corneal transplants, cataract surgery, removal of pre-cancerous and cancerous growths as well as many other surgical procedures on the eye. Corneal transplants can be full or partial thickness and different surgical skills are required for each type. Dr. Harris also performs LASIK, another procedure in which she can restore sight and dramatically improve her patient’s vision. Additionally, she sees patients from the InterFaith Clinic and Knoxville Area Project Access, as being able to make a difference in the lives of those in need is a benefit of ophthalmology that she cherishes and holds dear to her heart.
Practicing amongst the breathtaking Smoky Mountains allows Dr. Lauren Harris to explore her passions outside of patient care. Having a proclivity towards staying active, in her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, water skiing, wake surfing, snowboarding, and traveling.