Kim Sun-hoo, Chief Medical Director of The Yeonsu Eye Center [연수늘밝은안과 영문판]
이선진 기자ㅣ
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Photo_Kim Sun-hoo, Chief Medical Director of The Yeonsu Eye Center. WeeklyPeople DB

[Global Medical Leader | Department of Ophthalmology]

Practicing medicine as an eye health protector

Kim Sun-hoo, Chief Medical Director of The Yeonsu Eye Center

Humanity has enjoyed incomparable convenience and comfort as science and technology have advanced. However, behind the scenes, there were inevitable consequences to bear. There were monitors equipped with smart functions and even a cradle that allowed you to lie in bed and watch tablet PCs and smartphones comfortably. Based on this, we are gradually losing our eye health without our knowledge while watching YouTube and Netflix for a long time. At a time when eye health is essential, there was a person who found the answer after intense consideration. Chief Director Kim introduced PRP LASEK in 2009 for the first time in Korea, it combines LASEK, which has fewer side effects of dry eye compared to LASIK, and PRP (platelet-rich plasma), which was mainly used in plastic surgery.

PRP LASEK, which recovers after surgery and relieves pain quickly has established itself as a necessary vision correction surgery as it is most effective for dry eyes. Looking at Director Kim’s The Yeonsu Eye Center, the phrase ‘introduction’ has been constantly included since its opening in 2003. He is always researching and developing new technologies, equipment, and systems. In this interview, we met with Kim Sun-hoo, to find out his medical beliefs and medical philosophy.
Journalists_Lee Sun Jin and Ko Su Kyung

Steadily growing eye hospital, The Yeonsu Eye Center : Building trust relationships with the patients

The Yeonsu Eye Center first began in 2003 in Yeonsu-gu, Incheon. Director Kim, who mainly dealt with LASIK, cataracts, lens implantation, and Dream Lens at the time, moved to the Square One building in Dongchun-dong in a more pleasant environment and expanded the hospital. Then four years ago, he expanded it once more and strengthened its equipment. Recruitment of a new doctor was the biggest difference in this eye hospital’s changing process. Dr. Jimi Jung, who was a professor of ophthalmology at Gachon University Gil Medical Center for 15 years, was in charge of the cosmetic eye part, and Dr. Chu Heon-koo, who was an assistant clinical professor at Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, was in charge of the retina part. Kim, who runs an ophthalmologist with them, is planning to recruit two more doctors. When recruiting a doctor, the value that he considers more important than ability is that candidate’s mind as a doctor. His philosophy of treatment is not what technology doctors deal with when treating a patient, but what kind of mind they deal with.

“You need to be able to build a trusting relationship with the patient in order to provide true treatment. In fact, there are limitations to the diseases that doctors can cure, but there are cases where they can heal naturally if this trust relationship is well established. When a patient has the belief that the doctor is taking good care of them, the symptoms are relieved to some extent. There are some people who think that they feel comfortable and their symptoms seem to have improved after talking to me.”

Ophthalmology is divided into various medical subjects such as vision correction, presbyopia, cataract, retina, and glaucoma, making it relatively difficult to treat in-depth in the early days when Kim was treated alone. With the two doctors, Kim says it is good to be able to share the field and tell the patients what they had not heard in the university hospital. Patients who need precise medical treatment should go to a university hospital, but it has always been on Director Kim’s mind that it is difficult for patients to hear detailed explanations about the treatments. Director Kim, who is usually quiet but talks a lot when treating patients is conducting medical treatments by sincerely communicating with them. Kim’s attitude is highly appreciated by junior medical professionals and directors of hospitals who were previous professors. Unexpectedly, however, Kim has a lot of concerns about this method.

“The strength of my treatment method is that I improve the quality of treatment through a lot of conversations with the patients. I’m grateful that juniors try to resemble that part. The disadvantage is that the waiting time is longer, which makes the patients wait a long time and the staff suffer. It would be nice if there was a way to improve the quality of care and reduce waiting time at once but it is difficult realistically. I’ve been trying my whole life to coordinate this problem, but it’s not easy. Still, we are looking for the best plan while holding a meeting with the head of the department once a month.”

Best research, best equipment

The first PRP LASEK introduced by Director Kim began with conversations with patients. It was a time when the number of dry eye patients began to increase exponentially as the number of people looking at electronic screens for a long time increased. Consultation continued at Kim’s LASIK side effect clinic, where LASIK, which is vulnerable to dry eyes, was the main vision correction at that time. He always answered all those questions and agonized as if he had been assigned a new task. He was always thinking about whether there would be a quick vision correction while treating more and more dry eyes as time went on. After researching in various ways he finally entered the plastic surgery field. He found a way to incorporate PRP, which is often used in plastic surgery, into ophthalmology.

Thus Kim has been performing PRP LASEK since 2009 to handle both dry eye and resilience problems. On the other hand, he was not just greedy for research. In cataract surgery, equipment is as important as doctors’ abilities. Therefore the surgical microscope and cataract surgical equipment are equipped with expensive equipment that the world is paying attention to. Kim’s greed for equipment is unmatched in ophthalmology regardless of medical subjects.

“Ophthalmology is a field where many non-insurance treatments are provided. As a result, most hospitals invest heavily in commercial and uninsured areas such as LASIK, LASEK, and presbyopia cataracts. I’m investing in the equipment we need for upgrading our medical treatment. We have expensive equipment such as cataract ultrasound equipment, and we constantly have retina surgery equipment. When I was in Europe in the early 2000s, I was interested in presbyopia surgery so I had a meeting with the CEO of an equipment company every night. Eventually, I went to the European Society then I met Dr. Palikaras and Dr. Alio, the founders of LASIK surgery. After having a meeting with them and sharing many opinions, I prepared presbyopia surgical equipment. I am confident that these equipment are at the level of top class in private hospitals.”

Helping the community as the hospital where everyone is happy

Director Kim, who has 27 years of cataract treatment experience and more than 20 years of LASIK experience, already has several experience in two generations of surgery. A patient who had LASIK and LASEK surgery from Dr. Kim is coming for his child’s surgery well after 10 years. It is only possible to completely trust the doctor to ask for your child’s eye surgery following your own. Dream Lens has also been treated for a long time, so some patients who have become adults who take good care of their eyesight send letters after surgery.

What always makes him feel rewarded is that he has been treated according to his thorough medical beliefs. It is his belief that instead of trying to be the best, we should just do our best every moment. This is because if people silently implement tasks, doctors will become the best at some point and be recognized by patients. There is one more belief of Kim in this. Being the ‘best’ for Kim does not make his name known by the top sales figures or academia but is recognized by patients.

“The best hospital is recognized by patients. It is important to work with the goal will making a hospital where patients will acknowledge treatment and introduce it to their acquaintances. I think the best marketing strategy is the introduction of patients who have visited in person. The treatment is conducted by communicating with the patient. I think the stability of the hospital is the most important factor that can last the longest and most reliable even though it takes a longer time. Based on this belief my goal is to protect the health of my patients and establish a good hospital. It’s been more than 20 years since I started treating. I hope that when I retire my junior medical professionals will continue to lead me for the next 10, 20, and 50 years. I’m sharing my experiences of what I’ve done to my juniors to prepare for the beginning.”

He seems to have a sense of responsibility for the Yeonsu-gu, rather than simply running a private hospital. Kim said he does not think it is his own hospital although he has invested heavily in high-tech technology and equipment. In addition, junior medical personnel are not the only human assets he accumulates. The reason why he was able to be respected by many employees who had worked so far was because he treats employees carefully as he attaches great importance to patients.

“I think the best hospital is a hospital where patients are able to visit comfortably. In order to do that the staff must first be able to work happily in the hospital. I want to use the term ‘family’ for employees. It’s because, from the time I treated my patients alone to the present, they are the history and record of this hospital. They are a family that has carried things, ate, and stayed and organized everything together. We can provide better service to our patients only when all of us work happily. Then I think the patient’s comfortable treatment follows. I put a lot of effort into the equipment and will continue to upgrade it. That is the more important thing is people than fascinated equipment. I intend to continue to increase our human investment so that our employees can work more comfortably and happily.”

Kim’s mother’s will to become the current ophthalmologist

Kim has only thoughts about patients and staff and his greed is research, medical treatment, and surgical equipment. For some reason, it seems that he has walked the path of a medical professional without shaking since childhood. However, he had an unexpected past. Actually, he was attending engineering school before going to medical school. As an engineering student how he went to medical school ‘Weekly People’ which was his childhood and followed the footsteps of a boy to become an ophthalmologist.

“My mother has been suffering from a brain tumor since I was an elementary school student. After a few years of it and when I was in middle school, my mother lost consciousness and was taken to the emergency room. At the time, the hospital said that she would die without making a diagnosis as it was very hard to find the cause. However, the neurosurgeon who was there at that time was an acquaintance of my uncle. The doctor saw my mother’s symptoms and told me that it looked like a brain tumor. So I went to Severance Hospital for the CT scan. And the doctor diagnosed that she had a brain tumor. It was completely cured, but the tumor continued to recur once every three years. So I started thinking, ‘Do I need to have at least one doctor at home?’ So I ended my original dream as an engineering student and studied again. Then I finally went to medical school.”

The fact that his mother who almost died without even a proper diagnosis, was able to live by a doctor changed Kim’s life. From engineering to medical school Kim made another big choice in medical school. He hoped for neurosurgery, but after much thought, he chose a new field which is ophthalmology. It was a conclusion made over a number of factors including the condition of the department at the time, his aptitude, and future competitiveness. His life was a series of new choices until he finally became an ophthalmologist in Incheon. The year 2003 when the hospital was finally opened was a year of joy for Kim. However, it was also a year of sorrow for the death of his mother who set an indicator of life for Kim.

“There was a time when she woke up unconscious. Then she told me to be a good doctor and that was our last conversation. What she said was a will. I had an operation scheduled in the early days of the hospital so I went there after finishing it. But my mother had already passed away. I wasn’t with my mom on her deathbed. Even now, I remember my mother’s words and always try to keep them in my mind.”

A doctor who constantly studies and always finds a field of sincerity

Kim who decided to become a doctor due to his mother has also strengthened his initial intention as a doctor with his mother’s words. Then, what kind of advice will Kim give to junior medical practitioners who have just entered the field? asked Kim, who is already becoming a representative ophthalmologist in Incheon for advice for junior medical personnel who were at the time for decisions like him 20 years ago.

“At first I was worried because I wasn’t used to surgery. I borrowed tapes of famous people’s surgeries at the time to study surgical videos. I watched videos tens of thousands of times and reminded myself by supposing performing surgery. I have more than 25 years of experience in surgery, and I still watch a lot of videos. Now that YouTube is advanced, I look for videos and watch them. I’m also learning from seeing doctors performing different methods in the same surgery. It takes a lot of effort to get to the position you want in your field. I don’t drink the day before surgery even if I have meetings. I try to fully pay attention to surgery and I tend to have meetings on Saturdays.”

Kim is continuing his studies even with his career approaching 30 years. It would be impossible without sincere affection for patients and ophthalmologists. He expressed his belief that many doctors recently do not choose the part that they really want. He lamented the fact that the number of pediatricians and obstetricians is decreasing and asked them to set the standard well when choosing the field. It was a piece of advice to think about whether it is an area where they can sincerely do it because it is the thing that they have to do for their whole life.

“I’ve been living a happy life running a hospital with my staff. We felt rewarded and found happiness together here. When I see patients being treated and happy I feel proud of my choice as an ophthalmologist. I hope junior medical professionals feel proud and rewarded for what they have achieved regardless of commercial results.”

Eyes that are kept by a small but steady habit

Kim who leads Korea’s ophthalmology from the introduction of PRP LASEK to the possession of the highest quality equipment emphasizes that the best treatment is prevention. In particular, in modern times, when there is only an increasing number of times to look at various electronic screens from childhood, daily eye care is becoming important. asked him for advice on ways to maintain the health of the eyes.

“First, you should consciously give your eyes time to rest. If you focus on something for a long time you blink less often and that means your eyes are becoming dry. Thus no matter what you’re looking at you should let your eyes rest in the middle. The 20-20-20 rule proposed by the American Optometric Association is an example, which means that if you watch something for 20 minutes you’d better rest for 20 seconds and look 20 feet away if possible. Second, avoid UV rays. Long exposure to ultraviolet rays can lead to dry eyes, cataracts, and macular degeneration. This is why it is good to wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB on sunlight days. If it is difficult to wear sunglasses it is recommended to carry a parasol or wear hats instead so that your eyes are not directly exposed to UV rays. Lastly, there is a way to take nutritional supplements or nutritious foods. Eating foods rich in vitamins A, vitamin C, anthocyanin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 can help your eyes.”

Remember to be a good eye protector for the community

How many doctors contribute to the community by introducing technology that has been studied day and night and actively investing in equipment? His dedication which stands out in a busy society where many people are taking care of their own interests stems solely from the responsibility for patients. Since the eyes are regarded as the most important function of the body the thoughts of patients who desperately needed proper medical treatment could not leave his mind. Patients treated by Director Kim take their children and grandchildren to Kim even after moving to another place of residence. For more than 20 years patients have thanked Kim and he feels more responsible for such patients. Therefore there is a virtuous cycle of doing his best to treat them. heard from Kim about his future plans and goals.

Starting next year, we plan to organize a five-person medical treatment system with the director of the parts of glaucoma and cornea. Besides that, I plan to continue investing in equipment and manpower. The ultimate goal is to be a steady and sincere eye health protector rather than a commercial number in front of me. I want to make a better hospital than now and be remembered as a good doctor to the patients who come to the hospital.

Being a good doctor is probably the most difficult and ideal orientation for many doctors. His passion for research, active investment, and sincere medical treatment are approaching this intention point. is convinced that Director Kim is already a good doctor. Therefore we hope that more people will be able to brighten their eyes and minds through him. Photos_The Yeonsu Eye Center


·Adjunct Professor at Chung-Ang University Medical School
·Adjunct Professor at Gachon University Gil Medical Center
·Graduation from Gachon Graduation School of Medicine

Academic activities
·Full member of The Korean Ophthalmological Society
·Full member of the Korean Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
·Full member of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
·Full member of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons
·Full member of The Korean Contact Lens Study Society
·Full member of the Korea Cornea Society

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 이종덕 단국대학교 문화예술대학원
 안현정 이화여대 한국음악과 교수
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 문동언 가톨릭대학교 마취통증의학
 한호성 서울대학교 의과대학 외과교수
 이범진 아주대학교 약학대학 학장
 지해석 경희대학교 경영대학원 교수
 이신우 서울대학교 작곡과 교수
 김종락 서강대학교 수학과 교수
 양인목 성신여대 청정 융합 에너지공   학과 교수
 윤용진 연세대 스포츠레저학과 교수
 김원규 한남대학교 법무법학 교수
 김평만 가톨릭대 인문사회의학과 교수
 허강무 전북대 공공인재학부 학부장
 윤양택 충북대학교 산학협력단 교수
 전병관 경희대 스포츠지도학과 교수
 홍정기 국민대 스포츠건강재활학 교수
 최성희 계명대 경제통상학부 교수
 홍철기 서강대 스타트업전공 교수
 최기일 국방대 국방관리대학원 교수
 정미숙 가톨릭관동대 방송연예과 교수
 전권천 세종대 항공시스템공학과 교수
 강경선 성신여대 음악치료학과 교수
 전한용 인하대학교 화학공학과 교수
 이성기 차의과대 스포츠의학과 교수
 임준희 한국예술종합학교 한국음악작   곡과 교수
 이지연 연세대 문헌정보학과 교수

주연보다 더 빛나는 명품 조연으로 황금기 맞은 배우 이정은 l 배우 이정은은 데뷔 후 줄곧 여러 뮤지컬과 연극 무대를 돌며 자신의 경력을 쌓아왔다...

이지연 연세대학교 문헌정보학과 교수 l "이 교수는 기억에 남는 연구로, 과거 정보문화진흥원에서 주관한 ‘국가지식포털의 대국민 서비스 개선방안’ 도출과...

최복이 대표, 비즈니스 선교로 열방을 품다 l 크리스천 기업 (주)본월드 본죽은 오늘도 말씀 안에서 임직원들과 하루를 열어간다. 사랑과 섬김을 실천하는 오너이자...

황경주 서울시립대학교 건축학부 교수 l 황 교수는 ‘건축구조디자인’의 전문가다. 그가 정의하는 건축구조디자인이란 건축의 미와 기능을 존중하면서...

안현정 이화여자대학교 한국음악과 교수 l 기독교 정신을 바탕으로 진선미의 가치를 지향하는 이화여자대학교의 교육이념을 실현하기 위해 서양음악과 한국음악을...

정나래 The Young Voices Project 청소년 합창단 지휘자 l 음악으로 문화의 경계를 허물다...

하영목 중앙대학교 국제물류학과 교수 l 리더는 일관된 품성과 행동으로 조직에 안정과 신뢰감을 주고...

이미경 CJ그룹 부회장, 美 할리우드 움직이는 비저너리로 선정 l 베니티 페어는 이 부회장을 ‘대모(godmother)’라 칭하며 “이 부회장은 ‘기생충’부터 ‘설국열차’까지....


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