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  • Writer's pictureHouman Ahdieh, MD

33-Year-Old Business Owner With Glaucoma Says Get Checked Early

Kevin Choi is 33 years old. In 2016, he was diagnosed with glaucoma after serving in the South Korean Marines. At the time, about half of his vision in his right and 40% in his left eye was lost. Now eyes, and what we can learn from them, are the center of Mediwhale, a business he started with $5,000, and his ophthalmologist, Dr. Tyler Hyungtaek Rim.

His Marine service shows, overall, that he was healthy. His eyes, not so much. He had severe myopia. Glaucoma, a chronic, is a progressive eye disease caused by damage to the optic nerve due to increased pressure in the eye. The condition’s more common in older adults but can occur at any age.

EXPERIENCE WITH GLAUCOMA LEADS CHOI TO SPEED UP MEDICAL TEST RESULTS

The year he was diagnosed, he launched Mediwhale, according to CNBC. It makes and sells devices that measure potential medical problems using images of a person’s retina and artificial intelligence.

Your eyes are the only organs where blood vessels are visible without invasive measures. Changes in your retina can be signs of blood vessel-related diseases, such as those impacting the heart and kidneys. These changes often occur long before you feel important symptoms.

Mediwhale’s technology is approved by the European Union and seven other countries, including the United Kingdom, Korea, and Singapore. The technology hasn’t been cleared for use in the US, but five Arkansas hospitals are using it in clinical studies. The company’s raised about $5 million in funding.

The significant benefits of Mediwhale’s devices are that it saves time and expense compared to existing technology. These savings may lead to more people getting tested and treated for heart and kidney conditions earlier than they do now.

EARLY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT CAN HELP YOU MAINTAIN YOUR SIGHT

Choi says his glaucoma diagnosis and starting his company is “not a coincidence.” He’s an industrial engineer by training. “There must be some reason this happened to me. And I think that I could solve this myself, because I’m an engineer,” he said.

“Even now, I feel very anxious every time I visit the hospital for glaucoma checkups…it’s a long test with a two to three hours wait (for results),” Choi says. His experience with the South Korean healthcare system and the extended time he spent waiting to take the test and get results inspired him to speed up medical tests and results.

Knowing his glaucoma could’ve been detected earlier inspires Choi to push ahead with his business, which aims to prevent more people from discovering diseases before it’s too late to treat them effectively.

“Maybe for someone else who is also confident about their health…a simple eye scan could change his life.”

 

THE LEHIGH VALLEY CENTER FOR SIGHT CAN HELP YOU MAINTAIN YOUR SIGHT

If you want to schedule an eye exam or have questions or concerns about your vision, call us at 610-437-4988 or use our online contact form. We can answer your questions and schedule an eye exam so you can take steps to maintain your sight.

Houman Ahdieh, MD Lehigh Valley Center for Sight https://www.lvcenter4sight.com eyedoc@lvcenter4sight.com

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