Juan Alejandro Contreras
Physician, PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Chile.
Juan Contreras is a doctor who graduated from the University of Chile. While working as a physician he earned a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the same university. After publishing several studies on immunology and molecular biology, he opted to seek solutions to the day to day needs he observed as a doctor. He concluded that the main health problem in Chile and Latin America in general was not a lack of scientific knowledge. Rather, it was that this knowledge does not reach the poorest people, who, sadly, make up the majority of the population. For instance, in the case of diabetes, it turns out the disease is still the leading cause of blindness in the world even though diabetes can be treated. This is so because early detection of lesions on the retina does not happen in a timely fashion for the country's most vulnerable people.
RetiDiag visits health centers to take photographs of retinas. These are evaluated remotely with software developed by the startup. It allows for generating reports with great efficiency and speed, lowering the overall cost of the process. It also allows ophthalmologists to put their down time to good use. In this way it is possible to detect – in time – patients who have retina lesions that show no symptoms, sparing them from losing their sight over the medium term.
The company currently treats patients in Santiago and other regions of Chile, and has evaluated more than 5,000 diabetics in just five months. But the firm hopes to triple that figure by December of this year.