Sam Pierce headshot.

Your Story

What is your hometown?
Opp, Alabama

When did you graduate from UAB School of Optometry?

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment outside of the field of Optometry?
I was the first member of my family to get a college degree, and I was also the first one in my family to live most of my life outside the county where I was born.

Your Career in Optometry

Name of your employer(s)/practice and title, including location.
Trussville Vision Care in Trussville, Ala. I started the practice in 1989, and practice with a fellow UABSO alumnus, Dr. Zack Steele, who bought the practice from me a few years ago.

Why did you choose a career in Optometry?
The ability to see is an amazing miracle, but unfortunately not everyone has “perfect vision.” I wanted to improve the quality of peoples’ lives by helping them see the world better, and keep their eyes healthy for a lifetime of good vision. I was also fitted in gas permeable contact lenses in high school and that experience was quite fascinating and inspired me to consider optometry as a career path.

Where do you hope to see your optometric career in 5 years?
I love seeing patients, and I hope in 5 years I’m still able to see patients, interact with optometry students and travel—perhaps lecturing some.

Which optometric issues concern you the most?
The continuous efforts of outside forces attempting to segregate eye exams from medical care, and further segregate an eyeglass or contact lens prescription from the eye exam. This includes technology that is less than the standard of care, and fools consumers into thinking they have had an eye exam when all they have experienced is an online “refraction.”

Your UABSO Experience

What were your most memorable moments at UABSO?
Late nights studying in Volker Hall, lunches at University Hospital, vision screenings at Glen Ireland, CEVS, happy hour at Baby Doe’s, and filling out a thousand pages of forms for a new contact lens fit.

Who were your mentors at the School of Optometry? Why?
Every instructor was inspirational in his/her own way, but the stand-outs as I think back to those early years were Dr. Larry Alexander and Dr. Leo Semes because of their depth of knowledge with ocular pathologies and treatments, Dr. Katie Clore in the contact lens clinic, and Dr. Jim Marbourg for his sage wisdom given in so many ways over the years.

What is one piece of advice you would give current UABSO students?
Balance. True happiness is finding the proper balance between professional life/career, family life and social life.

Fun Facts About Dr. Pierce

What is something that few people know about you?
I can hold my nose and blow air out my punctas which makes a whistling noise.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?
Invisibility. How much fun would that be?

If you were not an optometrist, what would you be?
A chef…or bartender.