Dr. Rouse’s Wife Qualifies for Olympic Trials

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

Gina Rouse runs her kids from place to place, runs her household and runs 100-plus miles every week. This marathon mom puts in the work, and it has paid off in a big way.  Running is in Gina’s blood. She started in middle school, and ran track in college.
“It was kid of a natural love from the start. I really found a connection to running and teammates and chasing goals,” she said.

That love carried over into her personal life.
“When I met my husband, I found out he was a runner, and so our dates would be meeting for a run and grabbing something to eat,” she said.
While she’s always been a runner, marathons are still fairly new for Gina.

Gina Rouse:
“It wasn’t until after having kids that I tried the marathon,” the mother of three said. “After that I was hooked so with each subsequent kid we’ve had I’ve just gotten more and more competitive and that drive has just continued.”
It turns out, marathons are her thing!
Not only has she won the last two Covenant Health Knoxville Marathons in the female category, she also recently qualified for the Olympic trials for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
“It’s super tight. The best of the best get to go on to the Olympics, but it will be such an honor to compete with the top ladies in our country,” she said.
This kind of success takes dedication, especially while juggling family obligations.
“I try to fit it in in the nooks and crannies to where its not as noticeable to my children that I’m missing so I can really try to be there, pick them up at school,” she said. “Now there’s plenty of times that I’m on the treadmill and they’re in there jumping on the bed, another string cheese, another Cheez-it, ‘Mommy just has to get through 5 more miles!'”

Having her family’s support gives Gina a big boost on race day.
I will tell you any time you’re at the last couple miles of a marathon and you think I cannot put one foot in front of the other to keep going, I think of my girls and I think just get to that finish line because they’re waiting for you,” she said. “It’s been so neat to see them be excited and they catch the vision of setting goals and chasing dreams.”

Gina will be toeing the line in the 2018 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon in just a couple weeks. The race is on Sunday, March 25.
© 2018 WBIR


University Eye Specialists brings Corneal Cross-Linking to East Tennessee

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

University Eye Specialists, Knoxville’s premier ophthalmology practice since 1935, is now the first and only practice in East Tennessee to offer the FDA approved cross-linking therapy for the treatment of keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery – two progressive and sight threatening eye conditions that affect more than 160,000 Americans.  Corneal cross-linking is used to stiffen corneas that have been weakened by disease or refractive surgery.  Without treatment, patients may go on to require corneal transplant.

“Corneal cross-linking is beneficial to my patients in that it offers them a therapeutic option to limit the progression of keratoconus and ectasia”, says University Eye ophthalmologist and cornea specialist, Jordan Masters, M.D.  “The FDA approval of corneal cross-linking with the avedro KXL system now offers a new treatment option for appropriate patients who previously had few options to help with their vision challenges and no therapeutic treatment for these sight-threatening conditions”, said Dr. Masters.

In keratoconus patients, the typically round, dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and weakens, causing the development of a cone-like bulge that produces optical irregularities that affect vision. A rare condition, keratoconus typically appears in individuals who are in their late teens or early twenties. Early symptoms include blurring or distortion of vision or increased sensitivity to light. Corneal ectasia, also marked by progressive corneal steepening and thinning, is a rare but serious complication resulting from vision correction procedures—such as laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and is associated with worsening vision.

Corneal cross-linking is a medical procedure that combines the use of ultra-violet (UV) light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops. The procedure works by creating new corneal collagen cross-links, which results in a shortening and thickening of collagen fibrils that leads to the stiffening the cornea. Cross-linking, which has been performed in Europe since 2003, is considered the standard of care around the world for keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery.

“Early diagnosis is critical and allows patients to be treated early in the disease course before progressing to the point of needing a corneal transplant,” added Dr. Masters. “Patients suffering from progressive keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery can now receive a therapeutic treatment that has been rigorously tested and approved.”

To determine if corneal cross-linking may be right for them, patients can contact University Eye Specialists at 865-244-2020 or through our website at universityeye.com.


University Eye Specialists Welcomes Dr. Jordan Masters

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

Dr. Jordan Masters is a cornea specialist who truly enjoys using his expertise to positively impact the lives of those he cares for. Dr. Masters knows firsthand the impact that it makes on an individual when he restores their sight and improves their quality of life. He, therefore, unabashedly describes ophthalmology as an “awesome privilege” and could not imagine practicing in any other capacity.

Dr. Masters is a fellowship trained cornea specialist skilled to operate and treat conditions related to the front part of the eye. As the primary focusing mechanisms of the eye, the cornea as well as the crystalline lens, have the incredibly important task of properly placing light onto the retina for image formation, allowing one to see properly. Outside of comprehensive eye examinations, Dr. Masters also offers state-of-the-art micro incision cataract surgery, advanced corneal transplantation techniques, pterygium surgery, ocular surface tumor surgery, secondary intraocular lens implants, and refractive procedures including LASIK and PRK.

It was his time spent with his mentor Dr. David Harris, of University Eye Specialists, during his clinical training at the University of Tennessee Medical School, that ignited Dr. Masters passion for ophthalmology. During his internship at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, he continued his research activity and studies under Dr. Harris at UES. Dr. Masters was impressed seeing firsthand how patient centered the practice was. He also saw the dramatic, life-altering effect of corneal transplantation and the restorative power of cataract procedures. After completing residency at the University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute followed by advanced surgical and cornea training at the prestigious Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan, he joined the University Eye Specialists team in August of 2017 garnering a particularly warm “home-coming”.

Dr. Masters was born in Florida, but spent most of his formative years growing up in middle Tennessee around Nashville. His wife, Tyler, who is originally from the Knoxville area is a registered nurse that now stays at home caring for their three young boys; Owen, Grant and Lewis. They are exceedingly overjoyed to call Farragut, Tennessee their home – living close to both cherished family and the majestic intricacies of the Smoky Mountains.

Dr. Masters has many interests outside of the office. He has always enjoyed the sport of soccer; both as a participant and as a spectator. As an avid runner Dr. Masters also loves to use the beautiful Tennessee hills to dictate his exercise regime – but his greatest joy comes from the subtleties of spending the afternoon with his family at a local park and watching his boys have a great time. He has already proudly started indoctrinating his children with a love for Tennessee football.

Interestingly, Dr. Jordan Masters is the first one in his family to attend college. Not only did he graduate, but he continued on to medical school and graduated first in his class – an intellectually rare, talent-driven, accomplishment. His excitement for patient care and passion for minimally-invasive, technology-driven procedures is an enormous asset to the group. His patients are quick to notice his exacting attention to detail as well as his contagious positivity. University Eye Specialists is fortunate to have Dr. Masters within the practice.

Life without Glare

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

Purchasing a new pair of eyeglasses can be a daunting task.  Outside of the fact that you are selecting your “new look” and solidifying your style for the next 12-24 months, there are also all of the lens options to wade through.  Thankfully, the highly trained opticians at University Eye Specialists are ready to walk you through the myriad of features available and fully explain their associated benefits.  One of the most popular lens options is an anti-reflective coating, which is commonly referred to as “no-glare.”  An anti-reflective coating can benefit both your appearance as well as your vision.  Below are some of the main advantages of this highly sophisticated coating:


Your fashion-forward frame needs lenses to match.  Without an anti-glare coating the front and back surfaces of your lenses will cast off a very noticeable “white light” reflection.  Not only is this distracting to the wearer, but it is also quite the aesthetical faux-pa.  The distracting glare blocks friends and family from being able to see your eyes from behind your glasses.  We convey so much emotion and thought through our eyes – it is a shame for them to be hidden under a wave of glare.  You would be hard-pressed to find any television personality or national presenter without an anti-reflective coating.  Go ahead, show off your beautiful blue eyes without the hindrance of a white-light reflection.


There is nothing worse than trying to drive at night and not being able to see where you are going.  This can make for quite the stressful, unsafe situation.  Headlights are infamous for creating unnecessary glare and causing issues for oncoming drivers.  This is where an anti-reflective coating can help!  The lens that is coated with a no-glare surface will allow over 99% of visible light to pass through the lens.  This is compared to the 78% permeation of the non-coated lens.  Not only does the wearer see better because their eyes are receiving more light through the lens, but the coating also eliminates the surface glare from the lens itself giving you a much clearer picture.  We even have lenses available with blue blocking technology that minimize the annoyance of the newer LED blue headlights.


It is almost counterintuitive to think that an anti-reflective lens will be more durable than the uncoated version; however, the technological advancements in surface coatings has had dramatic strides since their inception in the early 1970’s.  University Eye Specialists uses Zeiss® branded coatings such as DuraVision Silver and DuraVision Platinum which are so tough that they come with a two year warranty against defects and scratches.  The molecular layers comprising these coatings are so tightly weaved into the lens that they create a robust surface more than capable of withstanding day-to-day eyeglass hazards.

Having the perfect eye examination is just half of the equation.  Being able to translate your new prescription into a functional and fashionable set of eyewear is such a large part of the eyecare experience.  An anti-reflective coating will help you look your best, see your best and worry less about scratching your eyewear.  Our mission at University Eye Specialists is to “help you live LIFE in focus.”  Come stop by one of our optical locations where our opticians would love to have a conversation with you regarding the benefits of an anti-reflective coating and how it could improve your daily life.

Eclipse Safety – Don’t be left in the Dark

Sam WinnegradUncategorized

On August 21st Tennesseans, as well as families across America, will be fixated on a once in a lifetime event – a total solar eclipse.  It is this potential ‘fixation’ that is causing some concern within the eyecare community at large.  The physicians at University Eye Specialists want to provide you with the knowledge needed to have a fun and SAFE experience this August.  This incidence will undoubtedly be a memorable moment of life.  At University Eye Specialists we dedicate ourselves to “Helping you Live Life in Focus.”

What is a total eclipse?

Simply stated, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and sun.  This will cause the appearance that the sun has been eclipsed, or covered over.  A total solar eclipse is a much rarer phenomenon that occurs when the overall circumference of the moon lines up just right – not allowing the sun to shine through at all.  The view of a total eclipse is dependent upon location.  That is why we are so excited in East Tennessee as we are at an optimum viewing angle.  As the moon begins to eclipse the sun the sky will become progressively darker.  When the sun is entirely blocked we will experience utter mid-day darkness; providing a memorably-eerie look and feel.

The Sun and your Eyes

Science has proven the effects of long term exposure to ultraviolet radiation.  Cataracts, a condition wherein the internal lens of the eye becomes cloudy and opaque, has been shown to progress dramatically faster in patients that are exposed to frequent UV radiation.  Macular degeneration, a disease that affects central vision, has also been correlated to UV exposure.  As the sun is the source of damaging UV radiation it is ever so imperative that we properly guard ourselves from unnecessary and increased exposure.  We may not be able to feel the impact, but rest assured that on a molecular level our eyes are all too aware.

Short term, high levels of ultraviolet radiation exposure, as with viewing a solar eclipse, can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions have not been taken.  Photokeratitis is one common ailment caused by looking directly at the sun.  The danger of Photokeratitis is that one would not realize the damage that was caused until hours after the viewing.  This condition can be likened to having a sun burn on your corneas.  The eyes may feel pained, gritty and sensitive to light.  Permanent visual damage is also possible.

Photobleaching of the retina is also a major concern of looking directly at the sun.  The retina is an ultra-thin, light sensitive layer of the eye comprised of millions of nerve cells.  When light is focused onto the retina, these cells send patterns of information to the brain to be interpreted as images (what we see).  Looking directly at the eclipse can be especially damaging because our retinal cells cannot handle that much direct energy from the sun’s rays.  Even a glimpse can produce transient “spots” in one’s vision.  Not only can this cause momentary blindness, but worse it can also cause irreversible degeneration of retinal cells – the effects of which can be permanent and lead to loss of sight and other eye complications.  This is enough to make your nervous cells, well, nervous…

Eclipse Glasses

Be wary of mass produced eyeglasses that are touted as “safe for viewing the solar eclipse.”  Not only must they have ISO 12312-2 stamped on the glasses themselves but they must also be free of defect and provide ample side vision coverage.  Glasses that have visible scratches are ineffective and should be discarded.  NASA recommends only purchasing ISO 12312-2 eclipse glasses from the following companies: American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.  Eclipse glasses are not the same as sunglasses!  Sunwear (even with the darkest of tints) permits way too much light to pass through the lens.  Eclipse glasses have a built in nearly opaque filter that only allows for a fraction of a percentage of visible light to permeate the lens and reach your eyes.

This August when you are tempted to look at the sun during the magnificent eclipse, please remember that doing so comes with great risk.  There are many adverse effects of direct sun viewing that could truly diminish your sight and thus your quality of life.  Preserve your precious vision through properly protecting your eyes with only NASA recommended ISO 12312-2 eyewear, and inspect the glasses for any apparent defects.  Since 1935, University Eye Specialists has been in the business of defending vision.  Celebrate the historical uniqueness of August 21st with both excitement and caution – taking care of your most precious sense, the gift of sight.

Dr. Rouse and wife Gina compete in Boston Marathon

Charley SextonUncategorized

Dr. Rouse and his wife Gina competed in the 2017 Boston Marathon. Gina ran in the Elite Women’s Start. She came in 30th in her division, 37th for females and 87th overall. Her net time was 02:57:02. She is also the female winner of the 2017 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.Read More