Throughout the world, almost 40 million people are blind. Yet, 80% of blindness is avoidable! And most of this avoidable blindness is in low-income countries. Dr Mario Giardini from the Department of Bio-medical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde provides insight into a revolutionary smartphone-based toolkit for eye care.

When Andrew Bastawrous, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, went to Kenya for a community study on eye care, he found himself in a logistic nightmare to transport the necessary bulky equipment around the villages. He teamed up with the University of Strathclyde and the NHS Glasgow centre for Ophthalmic Research, and they pooled their complementary expertise in international eye health, biomedical engineering and ophthalmic research.

Today, Peek, the Portable Eye Examination Kit, is being tested in Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Botswana and the UK, and more countries will come in the future. It is a revolutionary smartphone-based toolkit to test eyes directly in the field. With this, it helps to identify directly in the community, with very little training, the people who need to be seen by an eye doctor, increasing access to high-quality eye care.

Credit: Peek

Peek allows to test for vision problems, and for photos of the back of the eye to be taken, saved and sent to experts for diagnosis, follow-up and arranging treatment. Many eye diseases and health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be seen with a good view of the back of the eye. By bringing eye screening in the community, Peek may well change the way we look at eye care both in low-income countries and here in the UK.

On Wednesday 6th of May, Glasgow will host a unique opportunity to see Peek in action, and to hear how it came about. Dr Mario Giardini, who leads the design of the Peek gadgets that look at the back of the eye, will present Peek as part of the Engage with Strathclyde series of events. Registration is free (red button on the right of the page) and refreshments will be available.

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