Dr. Jake McMillin was born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. As the son of an Optometrist, he grew up with first-hand knowledge of what a medical career really looks like for the doctor, his family, and for the community. Having that valuable vantage point, the East Tennessee LASIK surgeon at Campbell Cunningham Laser Center and Corneal Specialist at Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor and Haun can’t really remember a time he didn’t know he would follow in his father’s footsteps in eye care.
“My dad was an integral part of our community and he taught me that, to be a good doctor, you have to invest in the people you serve, to do life right alongside them,” McMillin explains. “He modeled for me the personal satisfaction of taking care of people at many levels, using all your skills and resources – whether performing eye exams or volunteering to paint the football field press box.”
Dr. McMillin recognized early on one of his own skillsets was his talent for tinkering.
“Our family grew up working on 30 acres in East Tennessee, so there was always something mechanical that needed repairs, like tractors or four-wheelers. I had a knack for fixing things,” he remembers. “My dad noticed these talents and encouraged me that if I was interested in Optometry and I liked working with my hands, Ophthalmology might be a natural fit for me. The integration of medicine and cutting-edge technology, such as LASIK, was a perfect career path for me. Ophthalmic surgery melded my academic interests with the simple fact that I liked to fix things.”
To further pursue his interest in medicine and technology, Dr. McMillin attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia and graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science – which, he explains, is really an applied physiology degree. Before that, he had played football (tailback and strong safety) throughout high school, incorporating weight training and running into his workouts. For McMillin, his undergraduate degree was a natural bridge to medicine.
Undergraduate school was also where he met his future wife, who earned her nursing degree and subsequently practiced in her field to help support the couple’s growing family through his medical school, residency, and fellowship. McMillin stayed at USC to earn his Doctor of Medicine, magna cum laude, in the University’s School of Medicine.
“I really enjoyed studying the functional aspects of the body, so surgery was a real draw for me. But the most compelling attraction to Ophthalmology is the opportunity to restore function. Restoration doesn’t always happen in medicine,” he said. “Typically, medicine can manage disease and slow processes down, but it may not be able to reverse disease or injury. I believe that in Ophthalmology, we have an opportunity in many cases to restore function, and often in a surgical procedure as short as fifteen minutes. LASIK vision correction, in particular, comes to mind in terms of a short procedure that produces amazing results.”
After completing a Transitional Internship at The Colorado Health Foundation with the Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital in Denver, he returned to South Carolina for a residency at the Storm Eye Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He then completed a one-year Cornea, Refractive and Anterior Segment Surgery fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. It was there that he trained under some of the world’s leading experts in cataract, cornea, and refractive surgery.
A large part of Dr. McMillin’s practice at Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor and Haun is general Ophthalmology, however he also specializes in management of corneal disease and cornea surgery and regularly performs LASIK vision correction at Campbell Cunningham Laser Center.
“Giving patients back excellent vision through LASIK is incredibly gratifying,” McMillin explains. “I feel a real sense of responsibility in caring for my patients’ vision, the most precious sense they have – to take the extra time to make sure I do the right thing every time for each patient.”
Dr. McMillin grew up hunting and fly fishing in upper East Tennessee with summers spent water skiing and wakeboarding on Boone Lake, so he says outdoor activities are still very important to him, as well as for his wife.
To schedule a LASIK consultation, call us at (865) 588-3937.
University of South Carolina – Honors College, B.S.
(Summa Cum Laude)
Columbia, South Carolina
Doctor of Medicine
University of South Carolina
School of Medicine
(Magna Cum Laude)
Columbia, South Carolina
The Colorado Health Foundation
Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital
Chief Resident 2017-18
Medical University of South Carolina
Storm Eye Institute
Charleston, South Carolina
Baylor College of Medicine
Cullen Eye Institute
Cornea, Refractive and Anterior Segment Surgery
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