Portable eye clinic
Monday, September 2 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
In Africa, UK researchers are currently testing a set of eye tests based on a smartphone, which could radically change eye health in poorer countries.
Performing eye health tests at an ophthalmologist’s office requires expensive hospital equipment and specialized staff. In many places around the world, that creates an insurmountable barrier for patients. According to the World Health Organization, nine out of ten blind people live in poor nations.
The PEEK (Portable Eye Examination Kit) is made up of a mobile app and clip-on hardware that transform a smartphone into a portable eye clinic. It can be operated by a non-expert to gather detailed clinical information, diagnose cataracts, prescribe lenses and even check the retina for signs of disease, such as brain cancer or cerebral hemorrhage. The PEEK system stores information about patients together with their GPS location.
The researchers are presently testing the system in Nakaru, Kenya. They start by performing tests with PEEK then repeat the tests with the traditional system to compare diagnoses. Over 1,000 people have already received one form of treatment or another.
This type of device has great potential for Canada, namely in the northern regions.