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What is an Ophthalmologist?

Young attractive ophthalmologist

There are three O’s in eye care:  ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician. At Sullivan Ostoich Eye Center, all of these types of healthcare practitioners are represented, and we are proud to have two ophthalmologists as members of our professional, friendly team. Dr. Kevin L. Sullivan, a board certified ophthalmologist and surgeon, and Dr. Christine Mata, a comprehensive ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon, both bring their advanced skills and experience to treating patients in our Hoffman Estates, Chicago, office.

Having expert ophthalmologists as members of our eye care practice enables us to provide our patients personally with a total range of medical care. There’s no need to go elsewhere to find a surgeon – our eye doctors perform surgeries such as cataract removal, LASIK and corneal transplants. We have all the top medical providers that you will need under one roof.

Definition of an Ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist is a doctor of medicine (MD) who is trained in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and entire visual system. To this end, an ophthalmologist can diagnose, manage and treat eye disease and all ocular injuries, and perform eye surgeries.

Training to become licensed as an ophthalmologist requires completion of at least four years of medical school and one year of internship. Following this, three or more years are spent specializing in surgical and refractive training. After certification, an ophthalmologist can provide complete eye care services, including vision correction needs (eyeglasses and contact lenses), comprehensive eye exams, medical treatment and surgical procedures. Diagnosis of general systemic diseases is also a part of the job, as well as caring for ocular problems caused by these systemic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

An ophthalmologist will generally practice medicine in a hospital or private office. Although all ophthalmologists are fully trained and competent at prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses, other team members will frequently handle those eye care services. In many offices, the ophthalmologist will focus more on managing eye diseases and performing surgeries and refractive procedures.


All ophthalmologists are qualified to handle all ocular problems and conditions, and some ophthalmologists specialize in a particular area of eye care. Specialization requires one or two additional years of in-depth education and experience, which grants the ophthalmologist an expertise to treat very specific or highly complex conditions. The main subspecialty areas for an eye doctor include:  retina, cornea, glaucoma, pediatric care, plastic surgery and neurology.

Our Specialties

In our Chicago practice, our ophthalmologists, Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Mata, are highly trained and experienced in the subspecialties of cataract surgery, corneal transplants and LASIK vision correction procedures. We also work extensively with fitting specialty contact lenses for patients with complicated eye and vision conditions.