Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Peek Co-Founder and now TED Fellow, showcased the potential of Peek in an inspirational talk at this year's official TED conference in Vancouver. He explains how he was inspired to turn to his smartphone for a solution and, with the rest of the team, is now working to reach blind people in any setting with Peek's high-quality Portable Eye Examination Kit. The video includes a live demonstration of our adapter for looking at a patient's retina with the help of a kind volunteer from the audience.
Teachers are using Peek to identify children with visual impairment as part of a pilot study in 30 Kenyan schools. Identifying and managing eye problems at an early age is crucial to help prevent under achievement at school and possible exclusion from society in later life but childhood blinding conditions are challenging to diagnose and are frequently missed during routine eye check-ups. In addition, in low-income countries there are only a small number of eye care specialists. By using Peek, teachers will be able to identify pupils who need help and ensure they are referred for specialist treatment. The pilot is funded by Seeing is Believing (with Operation Eyesight Universal) and will be rolled out nationally if it proves successful.
On 6 December 2012, The Coldest Journey expedition team led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes set off from London on what was the start of the world’s first ever attempt to cross the Antarctic in winter.The 2,000 mile journey across the continent has for many years been considered too perilous to try and the expedition’s five-man Ice Team will have to overcome one of earth’s most hostile environments if they are to succeed, exposing themselves to temperatures dropping close to -90c and operating in near permanent darkness.A winter traverse of the Antarctic is widely regarded as the last true remaining polar challenge.The team are using an early version of PEEK to test their eyes as they make the crossing in extreme conditions, assessing whether their eyes and vision change with the prolonged exposure to cold and darkness. The conditions are considered a surrogate to life in space and so the data will provide valuable information for space programmes such as NASA and the European Space Agency.
Andrew Bastawrous is currently leading a large cohort study of eye disease in Kenya, following up 5,000 people examined 5 years ago. The team are using state of the art hospital based equipment in 100 different locations throughout the Nakuru County. The project requires that they carry the fragile and expensive equipment to all the destinations to examine the study participants. The same patients undergoing comprehensive ophthalmic assessment are also separately undergoing examination by community health care workers using Peek. The results can be compared with one another to ensure that PEEK is not only effective but accurate. Stewart Jordan is also based in Kenya with Andrew developing and upgrading the app to meet the requirements of real world challenges. Mario Giardini and Iain Livingstone provide remote hardware and software expertise from Scotland.