A Ugandan start-up uses an app to diagnose eye problems among school going children, and provides them cheap glasses made of recycled materials. Wazi Vision wants to bring eye care to those who can’t afford traditional methods.
School may not be the most fun thing for a child, but it is even worse when one cannot see properly. For pupils with undiagnosed problems such as myopia, reading what is on the blackboard can be at best challenging, and at worst simply impossible.
Unfortunately, for many children in Uganda it is not as simple as heading to the optometrist and getting a prescription for glasses. A simple screening and treatment can cost more than 100 dollars, which is unaffordable for many in one of the poorest nations in the world.
Brenda Katwesigye founded Wazi Vision after her own family struggled to afford glasses for her and her little sister. Despite the initial difficulty raising funds, she was able to create an innovative start-up which is getting noticed on the international scene.
Wazi Vision screens children for just 1$, using a smartphone app and a few easily transportable devices. The mobile clinic is able to reach children in remote areas. When the eye exam is completed, the app saves the child’s prescription and sends it to the team’s designers. They handcraft eyewear with recycled plastic. Finally, the glasses are then delivered the child’s house, so that they can finally enjoy clear (“wazi” in Swahili) vision.
All in all, the start-up cuts the cost of eye care by an impressive 80%. The company also aims to empower women by hiring them in the design team and training them to perform eye exams in the mobile clinic.
Brenda Katwesigye has international expansion plans for her company. She plans to bring affordable eyecare to children in several East African countries by the end of 2017.