A Multidisciplinary Approach to Bigger Thinking: the ‘Eye-Phone’
Scientists from the University of St Andrews, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have made a breakthrough in global health by taking existing mobile technology and adapting it in a way which will enable those living in remote areas to be tested for eye conditions, including cataracts and other causes of blindness.
Using a mobile app called Peek Vision, a smart-phone and clip-on hardware, healthcare workers are able to check visual impairment as well as diagnose cataracts and diseases that affect a person’s sight.
The Peek system stores contact information and GPS data for each patient, allowing a novel way to follow up and treat patients. The technology is currently being tested on 5000 people in the Nakuru district of Kenya to see if it is comparable with expensive hospital equipment. Peek is also being tested during an Antarctic expedition led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, assessing whether the teams’ eyes and vision change with the prolonged exposure to cold and darkness – conditions thought to be similar to those found in space (University of St Andrews, 2013).