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  November 20, 2013
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Peripheral Vision

Researchers Use Smartphone Technology to Provide Comprehensive Eye Exams in Developing Countries

By Eye² Staff


In the developing world, more people have access to a mobile phone than clean running water worldwide. That led a team of researchers based in London to developed Peek, a smartphone based system that can be used to conduct comprehensive eye examinations in even the remotest of settings. Easy to use, affordable and portable, Peek is empowering general health workers and eyecare practitioners to diagnose eye diseases and provide a means for managing and monitoring the treatment of patients, anywhere in the world.

"When people work to improve healthcare, they often look at the latest developments in healthcare to improve from within," Dr. Andrew Bastawrous (pictured below, left), an ophthalmologist and research fellow in international eye health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who is a member of the Peek team, told Eye2. "We are taking an alternative approach by looking at different industries to utilize what already exists elsewhere. If Peek lives up to its potential we hope people around the world can benefit. And with the fast-paced advances in mobile technology, this innovation will continue to get better and better automatically as mobile phones improve."


The Peek system consists of a mobile app and clip-on hardware. The system currently has the following applications:

  • Patient record with geo-tagging
  • Visual acuity
  • Visual field testing
  • Color vision testing
  • Contrast sensitivity testing
  • Lens imaging for cataract
  • Retinal imaging
  • Image grading
  • The Peek researchers are working on several other applications including an autorefractor, visual field testing, front of the eye imaging and a suite of pediatric-centered examination tools. They are planning on performing a range of studies and are open to suggestions and collaborations.

Click here to see video of how Peek is being used in Kenya and other developing countries.



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