Founder of Sondheimer Vision
Corrective lenses have been the principle behind vision health for more than 400 years. When I received my medical degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1979, glasses and contact lenses were the predominant means of bringing refractive focus to your eyes. I thought the state of vision health science was about as good as it would get.
The technique of radial keratotomy, an early type of refractive surgery, proved we could correct a patient’s vision by surgically correcting the shape of the cornea. That said, it wasn’t ideal.
During my residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, laser eye surgery had shown promise, yet advances in laser technology that would make revolutionary new treatments available to the public were unimaginable.
In my early career as an ophthalmologist, I had the opportunity to practice refractive surgery at large medical providers including Desert Laser & Eye Institute, P.C. I delivered new state-of-the-art refractive surgery techniques to thousands of patients at my office in Skokie, IL. We were among the first in our field of practice. With the advent of LASIK surgery in 1997, we made corrective eye surgery a reliable and practical option for thousands more.
A lot has changed. I’m back in Chicago as an eye surgeon in my own private practice, where I offer the breakthrough treatments that seemed to be impossible 30 years ago. This includes treatments like LASIK surgery, which has become an attainable, life-changing treatment, as well as the many new breakthroughs in cataract surgery.
I have the privilege to spend quality time with my patients guiding improving their vision. This is an integral part of practicing ophthalmology. An emphasis on patient care allows us to work as a team, designing a custom vision system built for your vision and your lifestyle. I have helped thousands of patients in choosing and having treatments that have corrected their nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and need for reading glasses.
Returning to practice as an eye doctor in Chicago and treating friends and new patients in the city I’ve always called home has been a personally rewarding experience. Recently, the husband of an old friend came in for a visit. He was unable to drive safely or work due to cataracts. They’re a common occurrence at our age, and he assumed he was in for cataract surgery. “That’s just one of the tolls you pay for living,” he grumbled.
In actuality, that cataract was an opportunity for him to have a treatment that allowed him to see clearly near and far without the need for corrective lenses, just as it has been for thousands of my previous patients. This is because we can often treat cataracts, presbyopia, and astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia) in a single eye surgery. A patient comes to my practice after losing one of their major sensory functions, assuming that maintenance is their only option, and they leave seeing better than they ever have. This is often a very pleasant surprise!
“Dr. Sondheimer is outstanding! He gave my Mother her independence back and another lease on life. He is one of the Top Doctors in the country for a reason. He contacted her the night after her surgery to check on her, and worked her in for appointments many times to accommodate her not living in the area. He is very humble and very patient centric. The best choice for anyone needing cataract surgery.”
– Jana J.
Bringing a Personal Touch to Eye Surgery
I’ve experienced Refractive Surgery myself, correcting significant nearsightedness presbyopia that required me to use glasses. So I know what eye surgery feels like from both sides of the scope. I also know what it feels like the next day, as a patient. I enjoy the liberation of being able to read in the distance and at near without the need for glasses or contact lenses. As a surgeon, I have performed these procedures on several family members and know what a difference they can make in life.
Of course, every person’s vision is different, and helping you choose the treatment that is best for you is an important part of my practice. Excellent sight is a wonderful and cherished gift. That is why it is my goal to maintain, preserve or restore your vision with the best possible result for you. I love getting to know new patients, and I hope we have the opportunity to work together.
Among the first surgeons in the U.S. to offer surgical correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, Chicago ophthalmologist Dr. Sondheimer has performed more than 12,000 refractive surgery procedures and over 10,000 cataract surgeries. A leader in the field, he has shared his knowledge by teaching other practicing ophthalmologists, residents and medical students in the United States as well as in other countries. He also served as a Volunteer Eye Surgeon helping patients in underserved regions in the United States, Viet Nam, Honduras, Panama, and El Salvador.
As a leading eye doctor in Chicago, Dr. Sondheimer understands the LASIK procedure from the patient’s perspective since he has undergone vision correction surgery himself. He has also corrected the vision of several of his family members in addition to having performed vision correction surgery on other physicians.
Dr. Sondheimer is a native Chicagoan and lives in Wilmette with his wife, Bonnie. The Sondheimers have six children and eight grandchildren. He devotes much of his time away from his practice to his family and is active in civic affairs.
Schedule a Consultation
Education & Memberships
Dr. Sondheimer is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He began his higher education at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He attended the University of Illinois in Chicago where he earned his medical degree and completed his flexible internship at Northwestern University, Evanston Hospital. He served his ophthalmology residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and completed his basic science course at the University of Texas in Houston.
Currently, Dr. Sondheimer owns a private practice in Skokie and he previously owned and operated the Desert Laser & Eye Institute in Mesa, AZ. Prior to that, he worked with Cigna Health Plan covering the Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe areas. He also served as medical director of the Laser Vision Institute in Tucson, Arizona and was in group practice in Toledo, Ohio before returning home to Chicago.
As an experienced eye doctor in Chicago, Dr. Sondheimer has performed thousands of successful procedures to maintain, restore or preserve vision for patients and is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the International Society of Refractive Surgery, and the Chicago Ophthalmological Society.