A revolution in eye care: Peek launches Peek Retina

Yesterday, Peek Vision launched Peek Retina, a smartphone camera adapter for retinal imaging which takes pictures inside the eye. This revolutionary, user-friendly new piece of technology will help significantly increase access to eye care by enabling examinations to be carried out anywhere in the world.

The launch was held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with a presentation by Dr Andrew Bastawrous, co-founder of Peek and scholar of the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, and an expert panel discussion about the social impact of Peek and how technology and knowledge is increasing access to eye care.

Peek is being supported by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust through the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, which was set up to deliver a programme of fellowships, research and technology aimed at strengthening eye care throughout the Commonwealth.

Funding from the Trust has enabled Peek to expand from an academic research project into an independent social impact organisation. Grounded in extensive research and expertise, Peek is developing appropriate technology including apps and hardware, knowledge and screening programmes, for homes and communities who could benefit the most. Peek Retina, the latest part of Peek Vision, is enabling any user of a smartphone to capture an image of the back of the eye in any setting and share it easily, removing the need for a bulky, expensive, desktop retinal camera.

This means people in low and middle-income settings around the world, especially those in rural communities, can now have access to screening and essential eye care services should they need it. Intuitive and easy to use, Peek Retina can examine the optic nerve and macula, which helps to identify diseases as glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and age related macular degeneration. These are all diseases that, if left undetected or untreated, can lead to irreversible blindness.

When talking about how partners have helped develop Peek’s work, enabling it to become a real contributor towards strengthening eye health across the Commonwealth, Dr Bastawrous said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us and helped us to take ideas from research to reality and we will continue to learn and develop the tools and knowledge which healthcare providers and systems need to help those with avoidable sight loss.”

Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, who participated in the expert panel discussion at the launch of Peek Retina said:

“Good quality eye care is a scare resource for millions of people across the globe, including in many Commonwealth countries. 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries, with little or no access to eye care. It’s been incredibly inspiring and encouraging watching Peek grow from an innovative idea into an organisation that is fundamentally changing the landscape of international eye health and helping those who need it the most.”