Deborah M Costakos, MD

Children’s Wisconsin since 2004
  • Chair of the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences, Children's Wisconsin
  • Ophthalmologist, Children's Wisconsin
  • Professor of ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin




I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. As a child, I saw my first surgery when a veterinarian let me watch an operation on my cat. As a teenager, I developed appendicitis and convinced the surgeon to let me keep my appendix in a jar. In college, a genetics course sparked my interest in metabolic diseases, which are sometimes diagnosed by eye findings. During my time as a genetic counselor, I was able to work with pediatric ophthalmologists to diagnose genetic diseases. I was also involved in prenatal diagnosis and witnessed amazing advances in genetics and premature infant care. Now, I am honored to care for premature babies and patients that have heritable disorders. I am privileged to be able to teach clinical and surgical skills that help save and improve vision. In 2019, I became Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and am proud to lead a research and medical team working on innovation and advancements while taking the very best care of patients.


  • Ophthalmology

Areas of Interest

  • Pediatrics
  • Amblyopia
  • Dacryostenosis blocked tear duct
  • Genetic disorders affecting the eye
  • Ophthalmology
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Pediatric cataracts
  • Pediatric eye trauma
  • Strabismus
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Education and Awards


  • 1998, Medical College of Wisconsin, MD


  • 2002, University of Colorado (Denver, CO) - Ophthalmology


  • 2003, University of Colorado (Denver, CO) - OPHTHALMOLOGY


  • Milwaukee Magazine Top Doctors 
  • Top Doctors Milwaukee

Research and publications


  • Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Macular development in infants
  • Subclinical macular findings in infants screened for retinopathy of prematurity with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography.
  • Evaluation of normal human foveal development using optical coherence tomography and histologic examination.
  • Whole exome sequencing in dominant cataract identifies a new causative factor, CRYBA2, and a variety of novel alleles in known genes.
  • Bilateral Central Retinal Artery Occlusions in an Infant with Hyperhomocysteinemia.
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Manifested as Bilateral Proliferative Retinopathy.


Ratings and Reviews

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