Since the launch of the first portable eye examination kit in 2013, many poorer countries have used it to great effect, diagnosing eye conditions in remote areas. The organisation behind it, Peek Retina, is now in the news looking for funding for its latest innovation – an adaptor which can be clipped on a smartphone, allowing health professionals to see inside the eye.
It could become an invaluable tool help the millions people across the globe who suffer from preventable blindness. There is no need for retinal cameras to be so expensive and bulky when you are just screening eyes and this new scanner will allow non qualified staff to capture images which can be assessed by someone remotely. This could make a real difference for people living in isolated areas in poorer countries where the healthcare infrastructure is inadequate.
Our retinal scanners are large and very expensive, and they aren’t meant to be portable. The images they produce are incredibly detailed and cover the whole eye, surrounding nerves and blood vessels. So they give an incredibly detailed and accurate image of the health of the eye. This scanner is more comparable to a handheld direct ophthalmoscope and provides a good image of the optic nerve but does not cover the majority of the eye.
Sadly this app will never replace the high tech cameras we are fortunate to use in the UK, however it is a fantastic screening tool and I hope it gets the funding and is developed quickly as the battle to reduce the levels of preventable blindness in the world continues.