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Smartphone apps to detect blindness

Smartphone apps to detect blindness
Photo: Smartphone apps to detect blindness
The Portable Eye Examination Kit consists of smartphone apps and an adapter which can be used anywhere in the world to test eyes easily.

A smartphone device which healthcare workers can use to carry out eye examinations could help tackle blindness around the world, according to scientists.

The Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek) consists of smartphone apps and an adapter which can be used anywhere in the world to test eyes easily and at low cost in the community.

The Peek Retina smartphone adapter clips over the phone's camera and enables health workers to see inside the eye, save the photos and then send them to experts for diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

It could help detect eye diseases and other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

The Peek tools are being developed as a collaboration between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Strathclyde and the NHS Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research.

People are now being urged to raise extra funds to manufacture and deliver Peek tools through crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

The team will be conducting a pioneering series of trials over the next five years to test the technology in various settings and communities including Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, India and the UK.

Millions of people worldwide are blind, and 80 per cent of all blind people have needlessly lost their sight through preventable or treatable conditions, researchers said.

Those interested in supporting the project can go to www.supportpeek.com and buy Peek Retina for their own use, or pledge funds to enable the adapter to be manufactured and distributed to suitable low-income settings.

AAP.

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