Who We’re Really Building for at QE

As an ophthalmologist, Quadrant Eye Co-Founder, Dr. Quinn Wang knows all too well how inadequate eyecare access can lead to serious eye disease and even blindness. Here, she shares why she started QE and how the company is developing at-home eyecare services to meet the growing need of high-quality eyecare for all.

By

Quinn Wang, MD

| Reviewed by

I haven’t shared this before, but my 85 year-old grandmother is legally blind.

During my decade of medical training, I watched her visual decline from 7,886 miles away. Because my powerful little raisin of a grandma knew that getting good eyecare in either China or the US would be an incredibly costly hassle, she spent years refusing to be a burden to anyone.

Once my grandma (pictured below) finally agreed to get her eyes looked at, it was a battle to get her the timely and expert eyecare she needed. When we finally got her in to see an ophthalmologist, it was already too late.

Now that I’m an ophthalmologist myself, I’ve managed countless such cases from the other side of exam chair. As a private practice attending in the heart of Silicon Valley, I recently cared for someone else’s grandfather who went blind during shelter-in-place… because he didn’t even have someone to phone for eye advice.

I started QE because I believe that all people, especially the people who made our lives possible, deserve access to high-quality eyecare. After all, my grandma and this man both went blind from inadequate eyecare access. And unfortunately, this tale of preventable tragedy resonates with families all over the world.

At its heart, QE is a mission driven deep tech company. Using a combination of translational research and computer science, our team is developing at-home eyecare to solve what we see as a resource distribution problem in the eye health industry.

We understand that when it comes to eyecare and the people we love, the US is already in its most critical and costly two decades. Notably, during this time:

  • The 65 and older cohort will outnumber the under 18 cohort (per the US Census Bureau)
  • The 65+ cohort will account for 42% of national physician demand (per the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC.)
  • The number of people with cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — diseases that disproportionately affect the elderly — will double to 55 million (per the National Eye Institute [NEI] and the American Academy of Ophthalmology [AAO].)
  • There will be a peak in the ophthalmologist shortage (per the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Journal of Surgery.)
  • The total eyecare costs generated by the 65+ age group will grow by 111% to $137 billion (per NORC.)


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The jury is still out on how effective blue light glasses are for eyestrain. One recent study found they made no difference in eyestrain symptoms during a two-hour-long computer task. But some experts feel they may help alleviate eyestrain and fatigue during prolonged, cumulative screen time. Either way, blue glasses alone won’t solve the problem of too much screen time. The best way to reduce eyestrain is to limit screen time and take frequent breaks when you do need to spend several hours at your computer. 


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