July 3, 2014
The 'Eye-Phone' That Helps Prevent Blindness
According to Dr. Bastawrous at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine there are 39 million sufferers of blindness around the world. 80% are from low-income countries, and the majority are blind from diseases that are either curable or preventable. Dr. Bastawrous has been harnessing the power of mobile technology to deliver eye care in an innovative new way to these individuals. An installment of Digital Diversity by Ken Banks in National Geographic.
Peek is a smartphone app aimed at community healthcare workers which allows them to deliver eye care everywhere. The app is able to scan the eye to check for diseases as well as other problems. It works by looking at visual acuity, visual field, colour vision and contrast sensitivity allowing Peek to diagnose blindness, visual impairment, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal and optic nerve diseases and crucial indicators of brain tumour and haemorrhage.
The app allows individuals with minimal training to conduct a comprehensive examination. By using a smartphone it replaces bulky traditional equipment which is expensive, fragile and often requires a continuous power source.
Dr. Bastawrous and his team are currently running multiple trials in Kenya within communities and schools. To ensure that everyone understands the benefits of the new technology, everything is being shared in simple, non-technical language.
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