Dr Andrew Bastawrous, the ophthalmologist behind the mobile app Peek, has been featured as a speaker for TED. In his talk, he highlighted the fact that of the 39 million people around the world who are blind, 80% of this blindness is from conditions that are treatable or curable.
When Dr Bastawrous started working in Kenya, he noticed two things in particular:
- The people who needed eye care the most were the least likely to access it
- More people in Kenya had access to a mobile phone than clean drinking water
After setting up 100 eye testing clinics in Kenya by taking cumbersome equipment over rough terrain to reach people suffering from blindness and visual impairment, Dr Bastawrous put together a team of engineers, business experts and software developers to create Peek, a mobile application for eye examinations.
Peek allows community health care workers to perform an eye examination anywhere, including in the patient’s home. Images can be captured by the health worker, and then interpreted by eye care specialists elsewhere in the world. Peek can take retinal images with comparable accurateness to the hugely more expensive and difficult to transport equipment that is traditionally used to test eyes.
At this stage Peek has been trialled on over 2500 people, and now has patents pending. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, Peek may be launched in 2015.
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Image: Shardayyy – flickr