“I am thrilled to be part of a comprehensive eye care practice.”
Sharon Billingsley, O.D., knew early on that a career in healthcare was her passion – That, and basketball. In high school, she was a highly sought-after point guard. This led her to start her education with a chance to play college basketball at Cleveland State, in Cleveland, TN. But after her last game as a Cleveland State Cougar, it was time for her to concentrate on her first passion, healthcare. The admiration of her brother-in-law’s career as an Optometrist gave her the direction she needed to follow his footsteps.
Young Sharon Billingsley grew up in a small town in Middle Tennessee. Moving to East Tennessee for undergraduate studies, she quickly developed a liking to the area’s beauty and people. Soon, though, it was off to western Tennessee, Memphis to be exact, 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 fell more in love with Knoxville during her two internships spent here. After graduating, it became her goal to return to East Tennessee. But, first, there was a stop in Nashville to work as a fill-in optometrist. She was able to gain invaluable knowledge about how to provide quality care for patients and how different practices had different ways to accomplish that.
“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 East Tennessee to reunite with her sister. She joined a Maryville optometry practice but within six months, she felt it was time to open her very own eye care and optical practice. So, Billingsley Eye Care was born.
“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 can just be a doctor again,” Dr. Billingsley says with a smile. “I want to spend more time with patients and helping people of all ages here at EyeCare Optical 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 realized not only for me, but in a sense, my patients. I think they’ll be thrilled with all the services we have to offer.”
“I treat patients for many 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 so important. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing they are in exceptional hands.”
Dr. Billingsley sees patients for a variety of services, from comprehensive eye examinations and contact lens fittings to general eye care in Maryville. She also treats patients for dry eyes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and more, right here at EyeCare Optical in Maryville. She also provides patients with contact lens and glasses prescriptions that can be filled in the same Maryville office.
One of Dr. Billingsley’s hobbies is to play guitar. She is a member of a small band that occasionally performs around the Maryville area. She is also an avid golfer.
“I play guitar and they would rather me not sing,” 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!”