The team behind a smartphone lens adapter and app-which allows users to conduct extensive eye exams on patients-has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the new invention, according to Mashable.
London-The team behind a smartphone lens adapter and app-which allows users to conduct extensive eye exams on patients-has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the new invention, according to Mashable.
The eye exam kit, called Peek Retina, was created by a team of eye-care professionals (ECP), software developers, and product designers, and aims to increase access to high-quality eye care around the world, Mashable reported.
The kit was developed through collaboration between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Strathclyde, and the NHS Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research.
According to Mashable, the adapter is clipped over the camera of a smartphone to allow health workers to see inside the eye and capture high-quality images, which can then be sent to physicians for diagnosis.
“It removes the need for traditional ophthalmoscopes and bulky cameras, enabling examinations in any part of the world. Other conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be detected,” the website wrote.
“Eighty percent of . . . blindness is avoidable, but in many regions, people don’t have access to eye care,” Andrew Bastawrous, BSc (Hons) MBChB HFEA MRCOphth, creator of Peek, told Mashable.
Dr. Bastawrous is also a clinical research fellow at the International Centre for Eye Health, London.
Ophthalmology Times Board Member Pravid Dugel, MD, shared his thoughts on the technology.
“(The kit) is terrific and it’s got great potential, . . . this will allow many more patients to have better healthcare access,” said Dr. Dugel, managing partner, Retinal Consultants of Arizona, Phoenix, and clinical professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “There’s not doubt in my mind that home-monitoring is going to be our next wave of how to manage our patients.”
Dr. Dugel, who is a consultant and minor shareholder for the smartphone app Digisite, which allows patients to check their vision, said technology such as the Peek Retina kit not only catches disease earlier, but can also be used to monitor patients’ progress and reduce treatment burden.
While Dr. Dugel said this type of technology is great for high-quality remote imaging and can be acquired easily with minimal investment, he expressed hesitation for any sort of utilization right now, as he does not believe there is enough scientific validation.
“I don’t think we’re ready at this time to make diagnoses on this technology until it is verified,” he said. “(However), I do foresee this becoming something very important.”
According to the kit’s website, the low-cost adapter can take high quality imaging with minimal training, see cataract imaging clearly, securely store and share the results for off-site review, and can capture clear visual acuity and visual fields.
After showing the kit to other ECPs, Digital Trends reported that the team managed to secure funding from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in 2013. The team will use the money to test the kit for 5 years in isolated communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, and India, as well as the United Kingdom.
In the meantime, the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign aims to allow pledgers to purchase the kit for themselves for £60 ($95) or pay for it to be sent to a healthcare worker on their behalf, via their partners Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
The estimated delivery date of the kit is October 2015, and it currently works with most iPhones, Samsung, HTC, and Sony smartphones.
The kit also does not currently have FDA approval, so it cannot be shipped to the United States.