British University partners with Kenyan doctor to develop new mobile phone eye test kit

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The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine working with Kenyan doctor Hillary Rono from the Kitale District Hospital Ophthalmologist Unit, have developed and launched an eye test mobile phone kit.

Included in the Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek), the Peek Retina slips neatly over the in-built smartphone camera and with the companion Peek app, holding the phone close to someone’s eye will cause it to auto-focus and show you the retina on screen.

The high image quality means experts can view cataracts clearly enough for treatment classification, detect signs of glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and signs of nerve disease. Other health problems such as severe high blood pressure and diabetes can also be identified with a good view of the retina.

In theory, an eye test should be as easy as taking a photograph.

Peek will be used to screen nearly 300,000 pupils in 400 schools in Trans Nzoia County over the next three years and was launched yesterday (29 February) at Kilimani Primary School in Nairobi.

Other counties in line to benefit from the project include Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Narok.

“This app uses smartphone technology to carry out various eye tests including visual acuity, colour vision as well as lens and retina imaging. We have used it over the last year in Trans Nzoia.”

– Dr Hillary Rono

Using the mobile app is 50 times cheaper than buying ophthalmoscope eye test machines, and following a screening, the child will be referred to a hospital with both the parent and headteacher informed of the diagnosis and treatment. Records are compiled in a Cloud-based data system.

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