Dr. Melissa Toyos

Kaleidoscope Perspective

By Elizabeth Morse

A wife and mother of three daughters with a dog named, Auge – the German word for “eyeball,” Dr. Melissa Toyos encompasses her passion for ophthalmology and the eye in her successful, unique career, as well as her home life. Toyos Clinic is a family affair and her daughters like spending time helping her and her husband in the Toyos Clinic and have ambitions to become ophthalmologists as well.

Originally from Louisiana and labeling herself a “true southern girl,” Dr. Toyos moved to Kansas City where she worked as the first and only female partner at Discover Vision Centers – the third largest ophthalmology center in the country. In 2014, she moved to Nashville where her husband, Dr. Rolando Toyos – a renowned ophthalmologist – specializes in dry eye and LASIK procedures. The duo has deeply invested themselves into their rapidly growing ophthalmology practice.

I will never forget the amazement and the feeling of being able to see the world clearly,”

The Foundation of the Toyos Clinic

Originally from California and a skilled athlete, Rolando excelled academically as well. Before beginning medical school, he worked as a high school teacher and basketball coach. He won the National Teaching Award from Columbia University for his development of the science curriculum, as well as his work with at-risk children. He graduated from the University of Illinois Medical School where he was class president and a James Scholar. He received a community service award for assisting the Chicago City Public Schools for developing a pre-med program and book for students interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

The Toyos Clinic was founded in Memphis in 1998. Rolando was recruited for an ophthalmology position in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Jackson Madison Medical Center in Jackson, Tennessee. There, Rolando was the ophthalmologist for 10 years and became the medical director of the Jackson Madison Surgery Center. When the Memphis Grizzlies offered him a position as the team’s ophthalmologist, Rolando decided to open his own clinic and served the Grizzlies for many years.

The Toyos Clinic has continued to expand to five other locations, including two in Nashville and one in Franklin and Southaven. Melissa and Rolando both work in the Nashville office (located on Crestmoor Road), which Melissa says is ideal for their booming business.

The clinic specializes in vision, optical and facial cosmetic surgery. The vision component encompasses medical and surgical eye care, such as cataract surgery, glaucoma, dry eye, wavelight LASIK and more. Optical includes general eye exams for contacts and glasses and exclusive lines of frames like Shamballa, Zero G and Chloe. Facial cosmetic surgeries include laser resurfacing, laser blepharoplasty, Botox, intense pulsed light, a complete line of medical skin care products and much more. Rolando is one of the most experienced surgeons in the country completing over 25,000 cataract and 15,000 LASIK surgeries.

Melissa is also a high-volume cataract surgeon, a national researcher, lecturer and a popular cosmetic surgeon for public figures. Both Rolando and Melissa have been named Premier Surgeons 300 by Ocular Surgery News. Between the two of them, the Toyos Clinic is founded on a strong base of knowledge, experience and doctors who are passionate about helping their patients.

The clinic also has its own research team to conduct various studies. The Toyos research team has won numerous awards and grants such as the Lieberman Award, two ASCRS Foundation Grants, Harold Stein Award, Earl Young Prize and James Scholar Award. Their research has allowed them to develop technology and techniques that are utilized by ophthalmologists all over the world.

Getting to Know Dr. Melissa Toyos

Melissa’s passion for the eyes sprouted from a situation – more common than not – where she was having difficulty reading the board in school. She often sat near the front of the classroom, but still couldn’t see clearly. Finally, somebody noticed that the reason she sat near the front was because she couldn’t see the board. Her parents took her to see an ophthalmologist. Upon evaluation, Melissa was fitted with a pair of eyeglasses, which forever changed her perspective, both of the world and of the field of ophthalmology.

“I will never forget the amazement and the feeling of being able to see the world clearly,” Melissa explained. From that day forward, Melissa wanted to pursue a career in the study of the eyes.

During her time as a practicing ophthalmologist, a portion of that time is spent researching new technologies, medicines and procedures, which she explains is crucial to the evolution of her field. Melissa’s research has been used by the FDA to approve medications now readily available in the market. One of the awards she was most proud of receiving was the Charles Lieberman Award and ACRS foundation grant for her original research for glaucoma. Additionally, she has published and edited over 100 publications and speaks regularly at national and international meetings.

It is no doubt that Melissa is devoted to advocating for her patients, as well as the field of ophthalmology. Among her many accomplishments, she was former president of the Missouri Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, twice elected deputy section leader of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and voted one of Kansas City’s Most Influential Women for her community work. The Nashville Business Journal recently recognized Toyos Clinic as one of the best businesses in Nashville.

Melissa is devoted to the promotion and evolution of her industry. She emphasized the importance of adaptability and resilience in her field, stating the use of new technology is crucial to the accuracy and effectiveness of the various procedures of the face and eyes. For example, Toyos Clinic uses LASIK eye surgery technology developed in 2015 as opposed to the many in Tennessee who are still using technology from 2007. Melissa, alongside her husband and the other Toyos Clinic professionals, helps train doctors in their annual “Dry Eyes and Aesthetics Training” in Nashville. This year, they are presenting ground-breaking research on using regenerative medicine for dry eye sufferers and the new Botox, MIXTOLaserLift.

Melissa’s Work

With a unique background in biochemistry and cosmetic surgery, Melissa brings a dynamic foundation of knowledge and expertise to her ophthalmology practice. She regularly lectures at national and international meetings like the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, which allows her to travel globally to discuss new research findings, methods and technologies in the field of ophthalmology. Last summer, she traveled to Berlin to lecture about the new MixtoLaserLift, which is a nonsurgical facelift, offering better, more natural results and improved healing times compared to traditional face and eye lifts.
“Mixto is the new Botox. It offers a non-surgical, natural tightening and firming of the face that restores youth, as opposed to facelifts that just stretch the old skin tighter—which can look unnatural or strange,” Melissa explained. She also partners with the local and national NFL sports’ cheerleaders, dancers and pageants. Titans’ cheerleaders, Miss Tennessee and Miss Kansas, as well as national and local actors and actresses are just a few of her widely diverse clientele, who are also avid fans and users of the MixtoLaserLift. “I was beginning to see fine lines and I had a couple of scars that bothered me,” Titans cheerleader, Heidi West testified, “I had the Mixto Laser Lift and used the Mixtohydrate and Mixto cleanse products. I took years off. I’ve received so many compliments on my skin since the treatment. I’m so happy with the results. My skin feels so healthy, the texture and clarity of my skin is improved, and my lines and scars are noticeably softer! I never thought my skin issues were fixable, but they are thanks to Dr. Toyos’ help and expertise.” Another testimonial on the MixtoLaserLift was Melissa Blayton, a professional makeup artist, who said, “My clients fly in from Kansas City to see Dr. Toyos because the results of the MixtoLaserLift are real and long-lasting. My mom and I are 6 months out and could not be happier.” Blayton also thanks Dr. Toyos for “being passionate about skin and for providing the best solutions available.”
In conjunction with cosmetic surgery, Dr. Toyos is also specialized in glaucoma and cataract surgery. Working alongside her husband who specializes in dry eye and LASIK procedures, the two have been able to build an impressive list of prominent public figures including, John Hudson (a former New England Patriots player), Christina MacIntyre (singer-songwriter), Jason Phillips (Toronto Blue Jays – MLB player), local attorneys, law enforcement, NBA and many, many more. The fame isn’t their goal, though – finding innovative solutions for their patients and enabling their field of ophthalmology to continue evolving in their development of treatments and technology is what truly drives the husband-wife duo in their careers.
“Trust, experience and education. Dr. [Rolando] Toyos and his staff come through in spades in all those categories and more. I trust Dr. Toyos and his staff with my eyes and his experience is second to none. The education I’ve received about my own eyes is amazing. Every question is answered thoroughly; every step is explained thoroughly; and every option is given. I know my eyes are in the best hands possible,” Doug Griffin, Nashville DJ on 94 FM The Fish, praised the Dr. Toyos and the Clinic. Griffin’s testimonial of the excellence of care and extraordinary amounts of expertise is not the only one that can be found on the Toyos Clinic’s website. It is obvious that the devotion and compassion for the well-being of their patients is mutually respected.

Giving Back to the Community

Apart from the lectures she provides and research she conducts, Melissa, as well as the Toyos Clinic, have not only served, but given back to their local communities. As mentioned before, the Toyos Clinic teaches doctors from all over the world. The Toyos Clinic offers successful and unique systems and techniques in the field of ophthalmology, for which these doctors from over 20 countries come to study and observe. Clinic internships through Southern College of Optometry and the University of Illinois Medical School are another part of the Toyos Clinic’s giving back.

Over the years, the Toyos Clinic has also given generous donations amounting to over $1 million in money, services and care. They emphasize that lack of insurance should never be the reason a patient is denied treatment of their eyes. Actively involved in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Eye Care America Project, a program where those uninsured receive free exams through the Toyos Clinic and the Toyos’ set up the Toyos Foundation, which provides eye care for many in the Nashville community.

With the help of churches, professional sports teams and community organizations, the Toyos Clinic has been able to serve many mission trips. Rolando is a former teacher, so both he and the Toyos Clinic partner with local schools to provide lectures and financial support.

Their great enthusiasm and undying passion for the anatomy, research and education of the eyes throughout their local, national and global communities, the Toyos Clinic has received many awards for giving back including a Humanitarian Award, Business Partner Award and the Ronald Reagan Award.

The Future of the Toyos Clinic

Toyos Clinic is a rapidly growing business, even voted one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States by INC Magazine, the Toyos Clinic is working to build on its success, but never intend to rest on their laurels and are “always open to interesting possibilities.” One of those possibilities was Melissa’s desire to travel to Asia – a dream that is now coming true. During 2016, the Toyos Clinic is scheduled to lecture in Taiwan, China and Japan. Another dream of Melissa’s is to travel to India. Being a yoga devotee for nearly 10 years now, Melissa would love to travel to India where she envisions yoga immersion and being able to master touching her feet to her head in the scorpion pose. In her spare time, shed also like to improve her French and Spanish speaking skills. “We’d really like to expand our Toyos Foundation for indigent care,” Melissa explained of something she’d like to see change in the Toyos Clinic. “Improving someone’s vision can change their life and we would like to help everyone who needs it.” The Toyos Foundation was founded to provide care for the many uninsured and underinsured people within the local Nashville community. With endless possibilities, it is no doubt that the Toyos Clinic plans to continue building its business and success as leaders in medical and surgical eye care, facial cosmetic surgery and clinical research. Their passion is well-balanced between the science and the ability to improve people’s vision and their lives with their commitment to bringing the latest medical advances and technology to eye care.

Toyos Clinic

2204 Crestmoor Rd.
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 327-4015

At a Glance

Other Locations
Skyline Medical Center, Nashville, TN
Germantown, TN
Franklin, TN
Southaven, MS

Practice Areas
Cataract Surgery
Dry Eye
Cosmetic Surgery

Residency, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Doctor of Medicine, Louisiana State University
Bachelor of Science, Louisiana State University

Professional Memberships
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Society of Cataract Physicians and Surgeons

American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Foundation Research Grant
Kansas City’s Most Influential Women
Women Who Mean Business
Charles Lieberman Award