ALUMNI NEWS: Class of 1983
The Zimm family
Alan Chow, MD
Founder, COO & CSO of Optobionics Corporation
Alan Chow was born in Hong Kong in the early 1950s, and moved with his family to the United States in 1958. His father was a mechanical engineer, his mother a chemical engineer. Chow pursued a career in medicine. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his ophthalmology residency from Loyola University's medical school. He continued his education and postdoctoral fellowships at George Washington University and the Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute, where he studied eye genetics.

Dr. Chow, with his brother Vincent, invented a silicone retinal implant microchip to treat diseases of the retina, in particular, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This artificial device has made possible significant visual improvements with virtually no adverse side effects. Thirty million people worldwide are afflicted with age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, two potentially debilitating eye diseases for which there is no cure. This device, which offers hope to patients that have gone blind as a result of AMD or RP, is thinner than a human hair and can be implanted during a two-hour operation.

Dr. Chow is currently the Chief Operating Officer – Founder of Optobionics Corporation. Dr. Chow has received honors, grants and awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Westinghouse Corporation, NASA, and the Heed and Knapp Fellowships. Venues highlighting his work include TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, ABC World News, NIGHTLINE, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Good Morning American and DATELINE. In January 2004, he was honored by the World Economic Forum’s G20 in Switzerland as a World Technology Pioneer. Chow is a practicing physician, as well as, a reviewer for multiple academic journals and a spokesman and faculty for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is an active inventor and is a named author of 15 patents.