Diversity in Business

Dr. Y. Ralph Chu - Chu Vision Institute and Chu Surgery Center

Business Owner

Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal  • July 2011

When Dr. Y. Ralph Chu was 11 years old he saw a television show about a man who saw his newborn son for the first time after corrective eye surgery cured his blindness. From that moment on, Chu knew his path in life.

After studying medicine at Northwestern University and completing a residency at Duke University, Chu founded the Chu Vision Institute and Chu Surgery Center in Bloomington, in 1999. Chu is a corneal specialist whose practice focuses on refractive, cataract and corneal surgery.

He has participated in more than 50 clinical evaluations for U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trials dealing with the advancement of cataract, intraocular- and phakic-lens implantations, laser-vision correction technologies and ocular-therapeutic treatments. He’s also credited with creating several progressive surgical tools, used by doctors worldwide, to improve the results of their cataract surgeries.

Since 2001, Chu, a first-generation Taiwanese-American, has traveled to Asia at least once a year to educate fellow physicians by lecturing and even performing “live” cataract surgeries. He did the latter in Hong Kong in September at the World Ophthalmology Congress before an audience of thousands of doctors.

“I’m interested in reaching out to developing nations, to the world’s poor, to reduce blindness caused by cataracts,” he said, noting that cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness.

For 10 years, Chu has made charitable donations, lectured physicians and provided surgeries in countries like China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Japan. He’s also forming a foundation that will provide those services and educate doctors in rural China and developing nations like Nepal, Tibet and Thailand.

“When LASIK [corrective eye] surgery was first approved in Taiwan in 1999, I was invited to help proctor and start up the LASIK program in their country. That was extremely rewarding,” he said. “I think that, by teaching doctors the surgical skills they need to help to the poor in their countries, I can do the most good.”

Dr. Y. Ralph Chu Founder and medical director, Chu Vision Institute and Chu Surgery Center Age: 42 Hometown: Chicago Education: M.D. from Northwestern University, residency at Duke University Hobbies: “Foodie,” playing violin, travel

Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal