A leader in the field of ophthalmology, Cynthia Matossian, MD, FACS, ABES, discusses her career as she prepares for the next phase.
When I launched Matossian Eye Associates 35 years ago, I was a solo doctor with one technician and a receptionist. I took out loans to start the practice and leaped into ophthalmology feet first, while also raising a family.
At the time, there were few women in ophthalmology and even fewer who were practice owners. Today, Matossian Eye is a multispecialty practice with three offices, 16 physicians and optometrists and 92 staff members.
As I grew the practice, I was primarily focused on cataract surgery. On the business side, I built a strong referral network and was an early proponent of integrating optometric care into the practice. I was always very interested in advanced technology IOLs and achieving optimal refractive results. But as I began to realize how critical the ocular surface was to biometric accuracy, effective IOL power calculation, and reliable visual outcomes in cataract surgery, I found a new passion: Diagnosing and treating dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction. This is the subject I’ve focused on in this blog over the past few years.
After selling my practice to Prism Vision Group, a private equity-backed ophthalmic business, I have gradually decreased my clinical responsibilities. First, I stopped performing surgery, while continuing to see dry eye patients a few days per week. Recently, I left clinical practice altogether to spend more time giving back to my community and contributing to ophthalmology in a different way. With a lot of careful planning, I am happy to say it has been a smooth transition.
As I close this chapter of direct patient care and pivot to other areas of interest, I am pleased to turn this blog on ocular surface topics over to Alice T. Epitropoulos, MD, FACS, a colleague and friend who is doing excellent clinical and research work in the ocular surface field. Alice is a founder and partner at the Eye Center of Columbus, Clinical Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University, and a founding member of the Cedars-Aspens organization.
As I turn this blog over to Alice’s capable hands, I will still be working closely with industry partners to develop and improve drugs and devices that I hope will benefit our field.
In addition, I have taken on three major projects: Serving as Chief Medical Officer of Glint Pharmaceuticals, which is developing drug-eluting contact lens technology; serving as CEO of GPOphtho, a group purchasing organization for ophthalmologists; and launching the American College of Eye Technicians (ACET). The acronym, pronounced like “asset,” is no accident. I truly believe that good technicians are an asset to every surgeon and practice—and we have a such a shortage of people trained to fill this important role. Many more technicians will be needed for ophthalmology to be able to care for the volume of patients we are predicted to have in the future. I hope to spotlight attention on this role as a wonderful career option for young people and for those who are already working as medical assistants or are in the hospitality business. Towards this goal, ACET will be recruiting folks into the eye care field and providing them with a foundational 8-week modular course to shorten the learning curve and accelerate placement of technicians in training into practices around the country.
I feel very fortunate to have the flexibility and time to focus on these exciting new endeavors, even as I leave behind other parts of my ophthalmic career.