In addition to the four areas above we also fund research into other eye conditions, like keratoconus, nystagmus, myopia or general eye health. We currently invest in 50 projects that are researching into other areas.
Smartphone app doubles number of Kenyan children accessing eye treatment
Research led by Dr Andrew Bastawrous from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has led to the development of a smart phone eye testing app called Peek which can take vision screening to children in hard to reach communities in Kenya.
Dr Bastawrous felt it was deeply unfair that across the world, 80 percent of the 39 million people who are blind are suffering from diseases that clinicians already know how to prevent. He saw that thousands of children in rural Kenya were unable to access eye tests and therefore needlessly suffering from treatable eye conditions. He secured the partnerships and funding to make Peek a reality.
Fight for Sight co-funded the Nakuru Cohort Eye Disease study into eye disease in Kenya along with the MRC, with results published in 2017. It was during this study that the Peek smart phone app prototype was tested.
Why is the app needed?
Childhood visual impairment is a major public health concern affecting 19 million children worldwide. Effective screening is required to enable early diagnosis and treatment and to help prevent negative effects on children’s education and social interactions. A portable app that can be easily used in any location is a game changer in taking testing technology to communities where other means of testing are not currently available. Dr Bastawrous says that in two to three minutes you can teach anyone to deliver the accurate eye test anywhere in the world.
What does the app involve?
The Peek school eye health system is an integrated smartphone screening system that enables eye test to be easily given in rural communities where other testing equipment is not readily available. It includes the Peek Acuity vision check app, a simulation tool showing a visual comparison of the child’s sight to clear vision. The information is printed on a postcard for parents and carers to remind them that their child needs treatment and text message reminders are sent to parents in their local language.
What impact has the app had?
The Peek school eye health system has more than doubled the proportion of children attending follow-up appointments in a trial comparing it to conventional eye health screening, according to research published in The Lancet Global Health in August 2018.
The app now has the potential to be applied to other communities and countries where eye testing is not readily available.