Toku’s CLAiR: Revolutionizing Cardiovascular Health with AI-Powered Retina Scans


  • Toku, founded by CEO Ehsan Vaghefi, aims to democratize healthcare through ocular imaging.
  • The CLAiR platform uses AI to swiftly detect cardiovascular risks from retinal images.
  • Toku received $8 million in Series A funding and FDA “breakthrough device status.”
  • It plans to be the first to offer a non-invasive retina-based cardiovascular disease detection solution.
  • Toku competes with Google’s Verily and South Korea’s MediWhale in the same space.
  • The company envisions deploying CLAiR in optometry, primary care, ophthalmology, and pharmacies.
  • Strict data privacy measures are in place, complying with HIPAA and ISO 13483 standards.

Main AI News:

In the world of healthcare technology, visionary minds like Ehsan Vaghefi, CEO and co-founder of Toku, are reshaping the landscape of disease detection and prevention. Vaghefi’s journey began with a profound personal connection – growing up with a blind father due to congenital glaucoma. This early life experience drove his passion to make a difference, not just for his father but for countless others facing health challenges.

Initially considering a career as a clinician, Vaghefi soon recognized the limitations of human capacity in providing healthcare solutions. Instead, he set his sights on leveraging cutting-edge technology to reach a broader audience. This pivotal decision led to the birth of Toku, a company committed to exploring the potential of ocular imaging in early disease detection.

Vaghefi’s mission is clear: democratize healthcare by making affordable and accessible disease screening available to everyone. With an extensive background in Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Auckland, Vaghefi boasts a track record that includes five patents, 50 publications, and over $15 million in research grants focusing on early disease detection through ocular imaging.

At the core of Toku’s innovation lies the groundbreaking CLAiR platform. This non-invasive, AI-powered retina scan technology has the power to transform healthcare. By analyzing retinal images, CLAiR can swiftly calculate cardiovascular risk factors, including heart disease, hypertension, and high cholesterol, in just 20 seconds. What’s more, it seamlessly integrates with existing retinal imaging cameras, making it an integral part of routine eye exams.

While Toku has garnered significant attention and support, including an $8 million Series A funding round from U.S. optical retailer National Vision and Japanese firm Topcon Healthcare, it is still in its early stages. However, a recent milestone has accelerated its path to market success – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted CLAiR “breakthrough device status.” This designation not only expedites the accreditation process but also opens doors to potential reimbursement codes upon final approval.

But what sets Toku apart is its unwavering commitment to addressing a critical gap in healthcare. If granted FDA clearance, Toku aims to become the first medical device company in the U.S. to offer an affordable, non-invasive means of detecting cardiovascular disease by examining the retina. This innovation has the potential to revolutionize healthcare as we know it.

Founded in 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand, Toku recently relocated its headquarters to San Diego, California, signaling its ambition to make a global impact. With plans to commence pivotal trials in mid-2024 and bring its revolutionary technology to the market by the end of 2025, Toku is on a mission to redefine healthcare for the better.

While Toku’s journey is exceptional, it’s not the only player in the field. Companies like Google and Alphabet’s Verily have explored similar avenues, although their solutions are yet to materialize. Additionally, South Korea-based startup MediWhale is also making strides in the realm of non-invasive retina scans for cardiac and kidney disorder diagnosis. The competition is fierce, but Toku’s dedication to democratizing healthcare remains unmatched.

Toku envisions its typical end-users as asymptomatic adults undergoing routine eye exams. The company plans to deploy CLAiR in retail optometry, primary care offices, ophthalmology clinics, and pharmacies equipped with retinal cameras. When CLAiR identifies individuals with elevated cardiovascular risk, they will be referred to primary care providers for further evaluation.

In a world increasingly concerned about data privacy, Toku assures its users that it complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and ISO 13483 standards. Patient information is treated with the utmost care, and access is restricted to authorized parties only. Toku respects data sovereignty and operates with local servers and infrastructure, ensuring compliance in every jurisdiction.


Toku’s CLAiR represents a significant leap in cardiovascular health technology, with potential to disrupt the market by making early disease detection more accessible. Its FDA breakthrough status and commitment to data privacy position it as a formidable player in the industry. The competition, while present, underscores the growing importance of non-invasive retina-based solutions in the healthcare sector.