“The place where I can do some good…that’s where I want to be.”
Dr. Tobin Taylor has been doing a lot of good over the past 14 years—as an Ophthalmologist with Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor and Haun. Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, Dr. Taylor specializes in Cataract and Anterior Segment Microsurgery; Glaucoma and Diabetic Eye Disease Management; Medical Retina; Eyelid Plastic and Lacrimal Surgery; and Neuro-Ophthalmology. Today he uses his practice to improve the lives of his patients, but he actually began serving the needs of others at a very early age.
In fact, growing up near Austin, Texas, it was clear to those around him that Tobin “Toby” Taylor was heading for a lifetime of caring for those in need.
Folks could see it in the way he dutifully looked after his mother who was in and out of the hospital with chronic health issues. It was that unmistakably generous spirit (and perhaps his size and strength)that led his fourth grade teacher to choose Toby as the unofficial caregiver of a classmate who suffered from Muscular Dystrophy. “I helped him everywhere: from the car, to class, to the bathroom, to the playground,” says Taylor. “I was later asked to help a couple of other physically challenged classmates. You might say I became ‘the school orderly’ because I was usually the guy who transported the kids with disabilities.” Young Toby was happy to be in a position to help.
Deeply affected by the experience, Toby later became involved in the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, going door to door soliciting contributions and setting the area record for collections three years in a row.
Toby continued helping disabled kids through middle school. It was during that time that he encountered a group of kids bullying a disabled classmate. “They had put a bee down the poor kid’s pants and were enjoying the show. I pulled down his pants, removed the bee and helped him get everything back together,” says Dr. Taylor. “I then went looking for the two ringleaders. Let’s just say the biggest guy in school taught them a valuable lesson.”
Through his high school days, Toby continued serving the less fortunate, but two other goals steadily rose to prominence: playing football, and becoming a doctor. “I chose Baylor University and, as a walk-on, joined the football team—the scout team,” says Taylor with a grin. “I loved the game and being with the guys, but by my sophomore year, Iinjured my knee for a second timeand it was clear that I should spend less time in the locker room and more in the classroom.”
It was Dr. Taylor‘s own eye problems that started him thinking about Ophthalmology. At age 19, he had successful surgery for Radial Keratotomy (RK). “I saw the power of eye surgery and how it can change a person’s life,” says Taylor. “Later, during medical school, a friend told me I had Ptosis or droopy eyelids. I subsequently underwent surgery to correct my ptosis which is the same surgery I now perform on many of my own patients. This experience has enabled me to empathize with those patients in a very personal way.”
Not long after, Taylor was able to experience eye surgery from the surgeon’s point of view. Dr. Jamie Patrinelli invited the eager medical student to work with him and soon Taylor was doing research and rotations at the side of the accomplished surgeon. “I loved it,” says Taylor. “I really, really enjoyed it.”
By the third year of Medical school, it was clear: Ophthalmology was Taylor’s passion. “I liked being able to change someone’s life for the better,” recalls Dr. Taylor. He had found the perfect outlet for his growing skills and his desire to serve patients who needed them.
Upon graduation, Dr. Taylor was accepted at the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics where he did his Residency in Ophthalmology. “I loved everything about Iowa—except the weather,” says Dr. Taylor with a smile. After his residency training, Taylor stayed on another 6 months as a Junior Faculty Member Associate. He received extra training in Plastics and Neuro-Ophthalmology where he developed something of a “sub-specialty.”
After a brief stint practicing in Arkansas, a fondness for the area brought Dr. Taylor and his family to the mountains of East Tennessee in 1998. Today, Dr. Taylor commonly treats patients for age-related eye disease and other general Ophthalmological disorders. He performs Cataract Microsurgery and treats patients for a variety of eye diseases like Glaucoma and Dry Eyes, as well as those related to his subspecialties of Cosmetic Eye Surgery and Neuro-Ophthalmology.
“I particularly like the challenging cases,” says Taylor. “Maybe they’ve seen other doctors and just haven’t found the answers. Maybe they have a chronic disease. I give them my full attention and my best effort to help them, even if it’s just to make them feel satisfied that everything is appropriately taken care of.”
Dr. Taylor practices in four of the five CCTH offices—Knoxville, Sevierville, Maryville and LaFollette—so he gets to meet people from all over East Tennessee. “I always enjoy getting to know folks on a personal level. It’s very satisfying when I can help them.” Just what you’d expect from a Texas kid who used to carry his disabled friends to class.
When not at work, Dr. Taylor enjoys hiking, mountain biking and fly fishing—and he might even sneak in an occasional game of golf. He and his wife, Julia, also enjoy sailing together and spending time with their kids.