Eye-phone set to revolutionise African optical care

Thursday, September 5, 2013

An impressive new mobile phone app is being tested in Kenya. It acts as a mobile visual clinic, and is set to revolutionise eye care in Africa.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 300 million people are blind or seriously visually impaired.

But a team of doctors from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine armed with an innovative, low cost, smartphone solution, have set out to make an impact on this community.

Dr Andrew Bastawrous of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his team are working on a nifty new way to identify eye problems early on, which will make eye-care far more accessible than the traditional clinic which can cost over $100,000 to set up, if medical equipment, staff salaries and transport are factored in.

“Kenya was a natural test location,” he told AFP. “For a country with a population of more than 40 million, there are only 86 qualified eye doctors, 43 of whom are operating in the capital Nairobi.

“Blindness is intrinsically linked to poverty, so in places that are low income, the incident of blindness is much higher…”

The Personal Eye Examination Kit, or PEEK, is one such solution. It is a mobile phone application requiring nothing more than a solar-powered backpack, a mobile phone, and an extra battery, at a total cost of under $500.

Source: eNews Channel Africa (link opens in a new window)

Health Care, Technology
public health