Peek, a smartphone application which has been used as an alternative to more traditional test charts during an eye examination, has been hailed as being as reliable as using a chart based system following a research project which correlated the results of a Peek test in comparison to a repeated eye clinic exam, just days apart from each other. The app could now find itself more than just a suggestive tool in an eye care specialists arsenal, but instead could become a vital option for eye health clinicians in areas of the globe that specialised clinics and optical health centres are scarce or remote.
Described by its designers as offering, 'professional eye exams from your smartphone,' the Peek app can be used by eye care professionals and health care workers worldwide. In conjunction with a lens adapter for your device, Peek can transform your phone into a simple, portable and importantly affordable system to test a persons vision and eye health anywhere, be it in a clinic or at a patients home. Cost and accessibility are such important aspects when it comes to providing eye care exams and treatment in certain areas of the world, such as Africa, and the Peek app hopes to enable eye health workers to be able to quickly and easily help those who need it, where perhaps such options are simply not currently available. It is estimated that as high a percentage as 80% of blindness related conditions are avoidable through early diagnosis and intervention. Peek's mission is to detect more cases of avoidable blindness and allow for treatments to be administered.
What can Peek do?
- View the retina with high quality imaging
- See cataracts clearly for classification
- Simulates a patient’s eyesight on screen
- Visual acuity tests for eyesight
- Colour and contrast tests
It is the apps ability to allow for an alternative for visual acuity tests that has lead researchers to conclude that it measures up in comparison to more traditional methods, especially as it offers such flexibility in terms of reaching people remotely. The study focused on 233 people in Kenya who were examined in their own homes using this method. A day later, they received a follow up exam in an eye clinic using test charts. The results from the two options showed that the smartphone app produced just as reliable data as the traditional method. The hope is that in offering such levels of reliability, Peek can help eye health workers diagnose avoidable blindness conditions around the world in much larger numbers.