How would you feel if you knew your eyesight was deteriorating and that you may lose your vision completely? There are millions of people in the world that were born without the gift of sight or with visual impairments that hinder them from experiencing the world the way majority of us are blessed to be able to.
Gaining access to eye care facilities and specialists is not something that everyone can afford to do, and some people aren’t even well informed enough to know that there may be options out there that can help reduce or completely remove their problem.
There is a new technological advancement in the world of ophthalmology that has been brewing for the past few years.
The Portable Eye Examination Kit (PEEK) started off as just an idea by a group of visionaries to be able to give the gift of sight to more people around the world.
PEEK Retina is a low cost adapter designed to clip on to a smartphone camera and allow physicians to easily examine the retina.
The combination of any smartphone camera, the PEEK App and the PEEK Adapter makes it possible to capture high quality images that can be stored and referred to in the future. It also makes it easier for physicians to share with their peers and gain a second opinion when needed, or even as a reference point when tracking the progress of a patient.
The development of this new technology stems through the brainstorming power of software designers, product designers and eye care specialists in a collaboration between NHS Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Strathclyde.
This device assists in identifying conditions like glaucoma and cataract. It can also be used to detect side effects of diabetes, meningitis and malaria as these are some of the diseases that can impact a patient’s vision and also cause swelling of the brain. Early detection can push patients to receive the necessary treatment that can either slow down the effects (pertaining to their eyesight) or reverse it entirely.
PEEK Retina (developed by Peek Vision) has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising money to create more of this gadget in their attempt to reach those in need in remote areas. In the last two years, the PEEK Retina prototype has been tested in Kenya, Mali and Botswana. The results have been positive and encouraging. They believe that an estimate of 1,000 eye exams can be conducted in a week with the assistance of this technology.
Apart from striving to bring PEEK Retina to remote locations, this technology is easily used by non-professionals at home and will benefit places such as nursing homes, prisons and rehabilitation centers.
According to statistics by The World Health Organization, an estimated 39 million people in the world are blind, around 285 million suffer from visual impairment and 246 have low vision. Although the total number of visually impaired people has reduced in the last 20 years, The World Health Organization states that 80% of the remaining statistic can be further reduced through prevention and cure.
Unfortunately, all these years, it has been a continuous uphill effort attempting to bring better ophthalmological equipment to poor and remote areas. Hopefully with the advancement of the PEEK Retina technology, those in need can be reached a lot easier and at a more affordable cost.
The modest target is for PEEK Retina to be manufactured and shipped out by October 2015.
If you would like to support this effort and be a part of this cause, you can make your contribution here.