EyeCare Optical
Appointments (865) 584-0905

Appointments (865) 584-0905

David Sims, O.D.

Ophthalmic Specialties

Education

Undergraduate:
B.A. Biology – Health Sciences
Maryville College
Maryville, TN

Medical School:
Doctor of Optometry
University of Houston College of Optometry
Houston, TX

doctor-sims-eyecare-knoxville
  • Texas Optometry Board 
  • Optometric Glaucoma Specialist

“One of the things that appeals to me about Optometry is that it really is primary care for the eye.”

David Sims, O.D., has been fascinated by the “how and why” of various fields of study and casual areas of interest pertaining to the natural sciences for most of his life. His appreciation for understanding how intricate things work and figuring out how to enhance their function in some way or another has been a reigning theme since childhood. While that ingrained interest first materialized in areas geared more toward mechanical, electronic, and technical design, Sims soon realized an area of interest where his pursuit for understanding intricate systems knows no bounds – the human eye.

Dr. Sims recalls that unquenchable curiosity throughout his youth, not only for how things work, but when left unsatisfied by an explanation, he would be compelled to explore why a system functions as it does. This inquisitive instinct was undoubtedly a precursor to his current profession.

“You could usually find me disassembling something out of sheer curiosity,” Sims remembers. “I just loved learning about how everything worked. That usually led me to wonder what potential such a gadget might have if applied in other ways.”

With his family history in eye care, Dr. Sims discovered the perfect path to channel his diverse interests and reveal his true passion in life – the multi-faceted world of Optometry. At Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun, Dr. Sims engages in his passion everyday by delivering primary eye care. Beyond assessment and correction of vision, your comprehensive eye exam involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the eye.

Dr. Sims was born and raised in Knoxville, which is where his educational foundation was established to launch his career. After graduating high school at Karns and feeling overwhelmed with a dizzying array of competing interests, it seemed daunting for Dr. Sims to commit his interests to any one specific career at first. It was a pivotal conversation with his father about career options that allowed for some timely advice.

“My dad suggested I consider my grandfather’s profession of Optometry,” Dr. Sims said. “My grandfather had passed away before I was born, so Optometry really wasn’t on my radar at the time. But I set out to explore it further by working in optical labs and getting to know eye care professionals.”

As fate would have it, Optometry ended up being the perfect fit for Dr. Sims because it aligned so well with his baseline enthusiasm for seeking answers to complex questions.

“This profession illustrated to me how it encompasses so many areas that can be endless pursuits of research, such as optics, ocular physiology, pharmacology, and diagnostic imaging technology, just to name a few,” Dr. Sims said. “Recognizing that I would have the opportunity to employ these on a daily basis as an Optometrist, I had no doubts about my career path. When the rest of my family learned of my ambitions, they rallied with their support and presented me with my grandfather Sims’ diploma from 1910. That served as a major inspiration during my student years, and it still inspires me to this day.”

Dr. Sims went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree from Maryville College. While preparing and applying for Optometry school, he was fortunate to gain early exposure to eye care by working for many esteemed eye surgeons who became his mentors. His ambition for learning about eye care was quickly rewarded by being assigned the role of supervisor at a busy clinic at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas. It was during that time that he gained valuable insight into the complexities of clinical procedures and large practice operations. Most importantly to Dr. Sims, he recognized the value of personal attention to patients and the importance of excellent communication skills.

When the call to attend Optometry school came from The Lone Star State, Dr. Sims accepted the invitation from the University of Houston College of Optometry with his newly acquired clinical skill set. After obtaining his degree, Sims accepted an offer to join a private practice near the world’s largest Medical Center in Houston, where he practiced for several years. All the while, he never lost personal or professional ties to his Tennessee roots. In fact, even when he studied and practiced in Texas, he still maintained his Tennessee license to practice because he knew he’d return someday.

“My family has always been in the Knoxville area, so as I had made frequent trips to visit, I was better able to stay in touch with this area from a distance,” Dr. Sims said. “I thought if the door opened for me anytime during those years, I would come back in a heartbeat.”

Coming back to Tennessee, however, meant it had to be for the right practice opportunity.

“There are so many practice venues for Optometry,” he said. “Even as an undergraduate student at Maryville College, I was getting the lay of the land, so to speak, to what might be best suited for me once I finished Optometry school. Thankfully, my dad was (and still is) a patient with Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun. During those student years, I could see the very model of how I aspired to practice.”

That impression was quite profound because after all those years away from his hometown, as Dr. Sims affirms, “I landed right back where I belong in the practice best suited for me to participate in delivering unparalleled eye care to this family of patients. I’m truly blessed.”

And Sims iterates that an essential part to his professional responsibilities is maintaining the call to have his patients’ eyes examined annually.

“One of the things that appeals to me about primary eye care is that it’s like casting a wide net,” Dr. Sims said. “Every time we see a patient for a routine eye exam, there’s potential it could evolve into finding much more than expected – in a good way. We might very well be identifying a sight-threatening issue that has not resulted in any vision loss yet. That’s where I proudly come in.”

Beyond primary eye care, the practice model at Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun allows patients to have the continuity of care that, as Dr. Sims notes, has been historically difficult to maintain with other practice settings that tend to disrupt the timeline of care, maybe even time-sensitive care for the patient.

“The specialists at this group really are the pioneers to value and nurture a practice relationship with primary eye care to the great benefit of each of their patients,” Sims said.

When issues arise with the eye, it doesn’t always manifest in obvious ways as many people might expect.

“It resonates with me to follow a methodical approach when trying to identify a problem,” Dr. Sims said. “Even if we know where the problem is, we have to be more meticulous in isolating the issue by assessing the eye starting from the front and working our way back. Only then can we have the complete story to treat or refer to our specialists accordingly.”

When patients do need specialist care, Dr. Sims expresses his utmost appreciation in having direct access to their expertise within the practice.

“When you consider the eye relative to any other organ, there are more doctors assigned to it as subspecialists for treatment specific to each anatomical component,” he said. “To name a few examples, eyelid tissue requires an oculoplastic specialist, the cornea has its own specialist, retina, optic nerve and glaucoma, pediatric and even eye cancers require a specialist for treatments unique to the ocular tissue. This is what comprehensive care can be at a practice where patients reap the benefits of seamless, coordinated eye care.”

Eye care is constantly evolving. Almost on a daily basis, we seem to be introduced to a continuous series of advancements among the fields of vision research. One area of which Dr. Sims is excited about involves even further improvements with cataract procedures that have dramatically improved quality of life for patients.

“Sometimes, when we tell patients they are developing cataracts, they may react with a bit of alarm or express concerns about potential blindness,” he explains. “But I’m here to provide you with better understanding of cataracts along with some good news. It may be a bit of my Southern disposition and tendency for using analogies, but I refer to cataracts being up there with gray hair and wrinkles. Our natural lenses that we’re born with eventually become too cloudy for enough light to get through. The good news is that when the time comes for that discussion, we can provide many wonderful treatment options to help correct age-related conditions.”

Now that he’s back home in East Tennessee, Dr. Sims says he looks forward to experiencing four distinct seasons of the year again; the fall weather, in particular, was sorely missed while he was living in Texas. Restoring the time spent away from his family will include lots of laughs and good food. High on his agenda is getting reacquainted with delicious country cooking and reconnecting with friends. He also loves traveling and the learning experiences that come with it in unexpected ways. And a most welcome bonus to being back is visiting more often with his son, who lives and works in Nashville.

For any other spare time, Dr. Sims says, “If I’m making myself useful to someone in a meaningful way, then I’m happy.”