Peek Retina Turns Smartphones Into Mobile Ophthalmoscopes

Peek Retina allows smartphone cameras to capture images of the retina.

An ophthalmologist has created a device that allows smartphone cameras to capture images of patient’s retinas. It's a breakthrough that could help prevent blindness in low-income countries.

Autor*in Terri Kafyeke, 05.18.17

An ophthalmologist has created a device that allows smartphone cameras to capture images of patient’s retinas. It’s a breakthrough that could help prevent blindness in low-income countries.

When British ophthalmologist Andrew Bastawrous moved to Kenya, he was faced with a population in dire need of proper eye care and not nearly enough practitioners or equipment. Inspired by the prevalence of smartphones in the East African country, he formed a team and developed Peek – the Portable Examination Eye Kit – a system that could be used to perform vision tests without high tech instruments, even in remote areas without electricity.

Peek Vision Ltd has developed several apps for smartphones, each intended for specific tests. For example, Peek Acuity measures central vision while Peek Colour tests patients for colour blindness. They are available for Apple and Android.

Peeking Into Patients’ Eyes

These apps are all very useful, but sometimes ophthalmologists need to look deeper inside their patient’s eyes to provide them with proper care. That’s why the team developed Peek Retina, a device that allows the phone camera to capture images of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye.

Peek Retina is cheap, user-friendly and easy to transport, weighing just 350 grams. It can be used with any smartphone and one charge lasts long enough to examine 100 patients, which is important in areas with an unreliable electricity supply.

Healthy Eyes, Healthy Lives

According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of visual impairment cases in the world could be prevented or cured. Since 90% of people afflicted with visual impairment live in low-income countries, solutions like Peek Retina could help prevent more disadvantaged people from losing their eyesight due to improper care.

Beyond the obvious health and quality of life benefits for the patient, there are also economic benefits to preventing blindness in low income countries. Patients whose eyesight is saved can work to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Peek Vision and Peek Retina have won several awards, including the European Design Award 2017, the Rolex Award for Entreprise 2016 and the Index: Design to Improve Life Award.

Watch the video below for more information on Peek Vision and Peek Retina:

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