Dr Andrew Bastawrous of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine together with a team of experts are leveraging smart phone technology to extend the availability of eye examinations. With the use of their recently developed app Peek, a mobile phone is transformed into a diagnostic tool.

According to the World Health Organisation, 90% of the world’s visually impaired are living in remote locations within developing countries. Peek, which stands for portable eye examination kit, enables community health care workers to easily administer comprehensive eye tests within these areas.

The application makes use of the phones built-in camera. It is used to scan the eye and the flash is able to illuminate the retina to test and check for diseases. The phone’s screen is used to test for colour vision, visual field and contrast sensitivity. Patients results can then be recorded and tagged via GPS. Results can automatically be emailed to the patients GP.

Bastawrous is currently leading a large study on eye disease in the Nakura County of Kenya. The study is following up on five thousand people who were tested five years prior. To examine the study participants, it is essential that fragile and expensive equipment be manoeuvred to the predetermined locations. Peek will be tested alongside the conventional equipment with the same group of participants to compare results.




 Featured image by Simon Rasmussen