Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2022

Finding an optician on the plains of the Serengeti is a daunting task, but researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have come up with a way to turn anyone into an impromptu eye-doctor. A smartphone application called Peek, Portable Eye Examination Kit, utilizes the phone’s camera and can conduct visual and color field tests, lens imaging for cataracts, and retinal imaging, among other tests to detect sight impairments and diseases.

The application works by showing patients a series of letters, the same ones you see at any eye doctor, that progressively get smaller as the eye test continues, this is a basic vision test. Peek can also scan the back of the eye to test for retinal disease, to do this an attachment that comes with peak is affixed to the smartphone then the phone’s flashlight is utilized to illuminate the back of a patient’s eye, checking it for eye disease.

At the end of last year Peek began it’s clinical trials in Kenya, which led to over 1,000 people receiving eye care. However, the problem with many eye-diseases is early detection, and since 8/10 instances of blindness are avoidable, and 9/10 blind people live in the developing world, providing children with proper access to optical screenings is paramount.

Though clinical trials of Peek are still taking place, Peek researchers recently announced they will start training school teachers in Kitale, Kenya, one of Kenya’s most impoverished regions, to use Peek. 10 schools across Kitale will start using Peek before it expands to neighboring areas. Children diagnosed with eye disease or impairments will be sent to Kitale Eye Unit for treatment.

While some might think finding a smartphone on the Serengeti is as challenging as finding an optician, the fact is Africa is growing faster than any other region, experiencing year over year output growth of +5% for more than a decade now. Smartphone sales are also increasing, taking up 51% of all devices sold in Africa in 2013, and mobile connectivity and penetration are expected to climb even higher in the coming year. Africa is definitely in better shape than it was a decade ago and with the widespread use of Peek, hopefully will be a lot healthier too.

To find out more visit Peek’s website www.peekvision.org

Photo: Courtesy of Peek

Need more optimistic stories? Find them in this free issue.

Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

6 ways to have a positive impact while holiday shopping this year

Making sure your practices align with your values can be tricky all year round, but this is especially true during the holiday season. Here ...

Read More

Here are 10 non-dairy foods that are rich with calcium

Calcium is well known for its ability to build and maintain your bones, but that’s not the only thing it does. It’s also important ...

Read More

You can now take Yale’s most popular class online for free

What is the most popular class at one of the world’s most prestigious schools? At Yale, the most popular course on campus is not ...

Read More

Scientists are battling locust swarms from space

Locust swarms are serious. In a single day, a desert locust swarm (about 40 million bugs) can eat as much food as 35,000 people in a ...

Read More