Download the Original Article Y. Ralph Chu, M.D. - Q&A | M.D. News 2013

Y. Ralph Chu, MD Founder And Medical Director Of Chu Vision Institute And Chu Surgery Center

Maintaining the highest standards of care for laser cataract surgery, LASIK and dry eye, as well as participating in innovative clinical trials, Chu Vision Institute is proof that independent, physician-owned practices can do big things. MD News spoke with Dr. Chu about his practice and his vision for the future of medicine.

Q:What are some of the things you can do for patients that you were not able to do five years ago?

A:There are three main things. We were one of the first 10 sites in the country and the first and only site in Minnesota to obtain the VICTUS femtosecond laser and offer LASAC, a procedure that encompasses laser-assisted cataract surgery. The VICTUS platform is designed to provide greater preci- sion compared with manual cataract and refractive surgery techniques. It also offers real-time, 3-D imaging of the eye to aid in planning and monitoring the surgery. VICTUS enhances our ability to offer a higher level of precision and predictability in cataract and LASIK surgery, and is part of our efforts to deliver the best refractive outcomes for patients seeking to improve their vision.
Second, we offer a new stent for glaucoma procedures. There’s a whole new field of glaucoma, called minimally invasive glaucoma surgery — or MIGS, for short — that helps reduce the need for topical medications. It has a high safety profile, as well as high efficacy for patients; it’s an exciting development. Third, we’re seeing continued improvements in the manage- ment of dry eye, specifically from new diagnostic modalities such as TearLab and Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL). Chu Vision Institute was one of the first 15 sites in the country to take advantage of the revolutionary IPL therapy, and patients are finding significant relief from dry eye syndrome.

Q:In what clinical trials is your practice currently involved?

A: One of the founding principles of my practice was participat- ing in clinical trials that help move the field of ophthalmology forward. Since our inception, we’ve been involved in more than 55 FDA clinical trials. Three of our current projects include working on the next-generation glaucoma stent, helping patients reduce or eliminate their need for reading glasses with a corneal inlay, and corneal cross-linking for patients with keratoconus or ectasia after refractive surgery.

Q:What message about your practice do you most wish to communicate to the Twin Cities healthcare community?

A: Independent private practice is still viable today. In recent years, our practice has made a commitment to a vertically integrated form of health care. A vertically integrated medical team can help educate patients, deliver the most effective outcomes and guide patients through the complex healthcare process — it’s comforting to patients and facilitates the ultimate in patient care.


A board-certified ophthalmologist, Y. Ralph Chu, MD, earned his Bachelor of Science and medical degrees at Northwestern University Medical School and completed an ophthalmology residency at Duke University Eye Center. Dr. Chu is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, President of the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society, and member of the editorial boards of Eye World magazine, Refractive Eyecare and Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. He also serves on the Board of Governors for the Children’s Theatre Company of Minnesota.