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Through the Lens Of Innovation:

Dr. Ianchulev's Impact On Eye Care

By Jake ParkerPublished 2 months ago 5 min read
Dr. Tsontcho Sean

“To innovate takes vision, insight and foresight…Not to mention a backbone. …” Dr. Ianchulev


Tsontcho (Sean) Ianchulev, born in 1973 in Sofia, Bulgaria, is a pioneer in ophthalmology, combining his immigrant Bulgarian roots with an American spirit. He has redefined the boundaries of eye care, focusing on ophthalmic surgery, pharmaceuticals, and medtech. His innovative footprint is indelible, pushing boundaries in eye care and inspiring aspiring professionals.

Early Life And Education:

Dr. Ianchulev's journey began in Bulgaria, where he finished the top ranked English Language School in Sofia with a Gold medal from the ministry of education for academic excellence. After the fall of communism in 1990, he was a part of the first wave of emigration of bold young people who left the communist country to pursue opportunity and democracy. He earned a full scholarship and completed dual Bachelor’s degrees in economics and neuroscience at the University of Rochester. He was then accepted to study medicine at Harvard University where he completed dual degrees in Doctor of Medicine and a Master of Public Health.

He then pursued specialty training in ophthalmology and eye surgery at the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California, where he focused on the glaucoma subspecialty. His journey is a testament to passion and excellence, inspiring aspiring minds in the ever-evolving field of medicine.

Pioneering Innovations At Genentech:

Dr. Ianchulev led Genentech from 2005 to 2009, leading the ophthalmology clinical development group through the FDA approval of Lucentis®, a revolutionary intravitreal antibody therapy for Age-related Macular Degeneration. Lucentis paved the way of future AMD intravitreal therapies, including Vabysmo, the first bi-specific antibody for AMD .

Intraoperative Aberrometry And Surgical Innovation:

Dr. Ianchulev's groundbreaking intraoperative aberrometry is a high-precision infra-red laser biometry device which led to paradigm shift in ophthalmic surgery using intraoperative navigation. Commercialized by Wavetec, Inc., it became a staple in the surgical toolkit benefiting millions of patients. The invention serves as a testament to Dr. Ianchulev's relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation in eye care.

Pioneering Glaucoma Innovation – the first suprachoroidal miro-stent:

Dr. Ianchulev was the Chief Medical Officer and head of development for Transcend Medical, Inc. In this role he led the FDA approval of the CyPass MicroStent®, a minimally invasive micro-stent for open-angle glaucoma. Transcend Medical was later acquired by Alcon, Inc. which introduced commercially the first-of-a-kind micro-stent technology. Dr. Ianchulev’s His legacy continues to inspire patients and shape the field. Dr. Ianchulev continued his ground-breaking foray into glaucoma treatment innovation as he later founded Iantreck, Inc. Iantrek developed two FDA-registered micro-interventional technologies. The first one is the revolutionary CycloPen Allostent suprachoroidal system with the first 100% hardware-free biologic stent in medicine which uses micro-trephined bio tissue for stenting the suprachoroidal space to lower intraocular pressure. The second one is the T-Rex gonio-interventional technology which is one of the first applications of super-elastic memory-shaped nitinol in ophthalmic surgery.

A Vision for Topical Ophthalmic Delivery:

Dr. Ianchulev founded Eyenovia, Inc. in 2015, pioneering the world's first FDA-approved pipette-free topical ophthalmic delivery system, the OpteJet. This groundbreaking technology revolutionized micro-dosing and horizontal delivery, offering a more efficient and comfortable treatment experience. The OpteJet system's FDA approval in 2022 marked a paradigm shift in ophthalmic care, empowering healthcare providers and patients.

Revolutionizing Lensectomy:

Iantech, Inc., founded in 2014 by Dr. Ianchulev, as a Nevada-based innovation incubator that developed undertook the development of the first micro-interventional lensectomy system – free of the conventional paradigm of heat-producing emulsifying cavitation. Dr. Ianchulev's visionary inventions, miLOOP® and miCOR lens pen extraction systems received FDA approval and become pivot technologies in the cataract surgicalfield. In 2018, I antech was acquired by Zeiss Meditec, a global ophthalmic technology powerhouse which continued the commercialization of the miLoop and miCOR technologies..

Office-Based Eye Surgery And Robotics:

As a public health innovator, Dr. Ianchulev was instrumental in starting a shift in the surgical care paradigm of one of the most prevalent procedures in the United State – cataract surgery. His seminal population health work and subsequent publication of the feasibility and safety of office-based cataract surgery helped transform the field of cataract surgery and enabled cost-effective and high-efficieny office-based surgery with hundreds of thousands of surgical procedures done annually. Dr. Ianchuelv challenged the conventional norm and ushered intraocular surgery out of the hospital and outpatients surgery centers.

In 2020 Dr Ianchulev also brought the first clinical surgical robotic system to the US – Preceyes Robotics to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinsa. As the head of center of ophthalmic innovation at Mount Sinai, his robotic micro-surgical team helped develop the first robotic module for glaucoma interventional procedures. As a Board director of Preceye Surgical he spearheaded the business development efforts which led to the acquisition of Preceyes Robotics by Zeiss. His visionary leadership and commitment to pushing boundaries continue to shape the future of eye care at the intersection of medical technology and innovation.

Contributions to Remote Virtual Diagnostics, Patient Monitoring and AI:

Dr. Ianchulev co-founded KeepYour Sight, subsequently renamed to RemoniHealth, Inc., offering the first enterprise system of virtual diagnostics and software-as-a-device/vision-as-a-remote monitoring service for chronic eye disease. His Peristat and Macustat digital tests were at the cutting edge and fore-front of remote eye care and disease monitoring for Age-related Macular Degeneration and glaucoma. Dr. He also served as a senior clinical advisor and board member of Aeye Health, Inc., leading the development and FDA approval of AI-based technologies for autonomous diabetic retinopathy detection.

Awards and Recognition:

Dr. Ianchulev has received many accolades and recognitions for his trailblazing contributions to eye care. The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Cataract/Refractive Society, The Glaucoma Research Foundation and other institutions have honored him. These awards symbolize his dedication to advancing the field of eye care and his unwavering commitment to excellence.


Dr. Ianchulev is a visionary who has revolutionized ophthalmic. His legacy includes FDA-approved breakthroughs and transformative treatments for the leading causes of blindness and visual impairment. His innovative spirit will continue to influence the future vector of ophthalmic innovation for generations to come.


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