Young Sharon Billingsley grew up in a small town in Middle Tennessee. Moving to East Tennessee for undergraduate studies, she quickly developed a strong connection to the area’s beauty and the people. Soon, though, it was off to Memphis to attend Southern College of Optometry.
“I was always drawn to medicine and my undergraduate focus was pre-med,” explains Billingsley. “But, when I saw what my brother-in-law did for a living and that he could help people see, I was hooked. I thought it was an incredible thing to be able to do and to be able to help so many people of all walks of life would be awesome.”
Dr. Billingsley did two internships in Knoxville and after graduating, made it her goal to return to East Tennessee.
But, first, a stop in Nashville as a fill-in optometrist, Dr. Billingsley was able to gain invaluable knowledge about how different practices provide quality care for their patients.
“It was a wonderful experience as I was able to better develop my style of patient care and how a practice should be set up,” recalls Dr. Billingsley. “I use what I learned throughout Nashville every day in my practice. And I think I provide better overall patient experience from what I learned there.”
Soon, Dr. Billingsley was on her way to reunite with her sister in East Tennessee. She joined a Maryville optometry practice but six months later, decided it was time to use her experience to start her very own optometry and optical practice, known as Billingsley Eye Care.
“It was the most exciting time in my life but also a very good opportunity to help out the people in Maryville and surrounding area,” she explains. “I put my heart and soul into my practice and the people of Maryville were very receptive. I loved every minute of it.”
After 23 years of owning and operating Billingsley Eye Care, she was presented with an opportunity to join Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun and devote more of her work time toward patient care.
“I get to be a doctor again,” Dr. Billingsley says with a smile. “I want to spend more time seeing patients and helping people of all ages here in Maryville. Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun provided me with the opportunity to do just that. Plus, we’ve built an incredible new location with all-new, all state-of-the-art equipment. It’s really a dream come to fruition not only for me, but in a sense, my patients. I think they’ll be thrilled.
“I treat patients for a number of eye conditions, but sometimes, I need to refer patients to a specialist. Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun have five Ophthalmologists, including a Retina Specialist along with 8 Optometrists. Now, I can refer patients within my practice and they don’t have to start over as a new patient elsewhere. They get to stay within my practice. That, to me, is a wonderful feeling knowing they are in exceptional hands.”
Dr. Billingsley sees patients for comprehensive eye examinations, contact lens fittings and general eye care. She also treats patients for dry eyes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and more. She also provides contact lens and glasses prescriptions that can be filled in the same Maryville office.
In her spare time, Dr. Billingsley plays in a small band that occasionally does gigs around the Maryville area.
“I play guitar and they try to keep me from singing,” she says with a laugh. “The name of our band is the Back Seat Delilahs. We have a lot of fun and playing music has always been a passion of mine. But, don’t worry. I won’t be quitting my daytime job anytime soon!”