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Eye scans more accessible with phone retinal camera

A smartphone camera adapter for retinal imaging that will make it easier to carry out eye examinations has been launched.

The device from Peek Retina clips over the camera on any smartphone and means that users can capture an image of the retina and share it easily without the need for a bulky, expensive desktop retinal camera.

The alternative to viewing the retina is an ophthalmoscope which requires the examiner to interpret what they are seeing as they see it.

Peek Retina is the latest solution created by Peek, a social impact enterprise which works to give healthcare providers tools and knowledge to deliver high quality, sustainable care.

Intuitive and easy to use, the device enables examination of the optic nerve and macula which helps to identify diseases such as glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and age related macular degeneration.

In a perfect world retinal imaging would be standard practice at the point of initial examination, but it is not normal practice because retinal images are hard to capture using traditional equipment. The Peek team believes Peek Retina can make a significant impact on avoidable blindness by removing barriers to access and enabling new examinations to be performed.

More than 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, 39 million are blind and 80 per cent of that blindness is avoidable. An estimated 2.5 billion people are unable to see as well as they could because they have no way of accessing basic care or treatment.

The Peek team is working with partners in the UK and globally to change this. It is teaming up with schools and communities in Kenya, Botswana and India, and more than 100,000 children have had their eyes tested with Peek using the Peek School Screening programme and followed up for treatment or glasses where needed.

Peek Retina was unveiled at a special event at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Peek is a spin out from the School and they continue to work closely together as partners to enhance both organisations’ impact through knowledge transfer, research and innovation.

The School’s director, Professor Peter Piot, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Peek. It is a brilliant example of the power of innovation, partnership and knowledge transfer to create solutions that maximise impact for the people who will benefit the most. We look forward to achieving even more together through our linked research and education programmes.’

Other products from Peek include its Acuity vision testing app, which has been used in more than 100 countries since it was released last year. Non-health experts can use the app and it can also be used in smaller spaces than traditional alphabet-based eye chart testing, such as small homes or rooms, which means more people can be reached and tested. An element within Peek Acuity, PeekSim, demonstrates what a person with a vision problem really sees compared with normal vision just after they have had their vision measured.

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