Professor TO Chi-ho - The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Chair Professor of Experimental Optometry
The Innostars Award 2021 winner：
“Those who love to see shall see where love is.”
Professor TO Chi-ho
Professor TO Chi-ho
Chair Professor of Experimental Optometry, Henry G. Leong Professor in Elderly Vision Health and Head, School of Optometry, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University;
Founder and Director, Vision Science and Technology Company Limited
Professor To Chi-ho, an authority on optometry in Hong Kong, is committed to safeguarding people’s eye health. He invented the Defocus Incorporated Soft Contact (DISC) and the Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segment (DIMS) spectacle lens, which earned him international awards for effectively slowing down the progression rate of myopia among school children by 60%.
20 Years of Dedicated Work and a Lifelong
Commitment to Protecting Eye Health Professor To was one of the first cohort of students graduated in Optometry at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (formerly known as The Hong Kong Polytechnic). After completing further studies, he returned to his alma mater as a lecturer and began his research on myopia. He recalled being asked by a group of anxious parents for help during a seminar in 2002. The parents were worried because they did not have any solutions to their children’s serious myopia. This was the first time that he deeply felt the pain of myopia patients and their families. While having lunch after the seminar, he wrote down his research directions on a copy of the menu, and decided to dedicate himself to applying the myopic defocus technology for controlling myopia.
Despite solid academic and research work, the commercialisation of research outcome is always a difficult problem in Hong Kong. Professor To admitted that he felt discouraged when manufacturers rejected his ideas over the years. In 2016, he finally founded a company with his classmate to put their scientific research into mass production. This led to the birth of DISC in 2018.
As of September 2021, more than 200,000 boxes of DISC have been sold since its launch in mainland market. Professor To and his team further developed the DIMS spectacle lenses in collaboration with HOYA Vison Care and have introduced the lens to over 20 regions in Europe and North America. The DIMS serves as an alternative solution to address myopia.
Discovering Unforeseen Opportunities and Innovating for the Benefit of Humankind
Having dedicated his life to research on protecting the eyes for countless myopia patients, Professor To believes that “those who love to see shall see where love is”. He leads the PolyU team in launching a service-learning subject called “Learning Through Providing Eye Care and Vision Health to the Community”, through which they provide eye screening and seminars to patients in Hong Kong, mainland China, Cambodia, and Vietnam. As many as 36,000 patients have benefited from these programmes.
“Every scientist must first forge a way through darkness and get over what seems to be impossible to pass, before they succeed in any innovative research,” said Professor To. He firmly believes that, as long as his research produces new knowledge that improves the well-being of humankind, he will carry on regardless of opposing voices. Looking forward to the future, he will conduct further research to achieve his dream of curing myopia.