One of the advantages of the Android operating system is that it is very flexible in a sense that it can accommodate a wide variety of applications. Gaming is now becoming quite popular on this system and so are productivity, communications, and fitness apps. In Kenya however a team is using this popular platform to diagnose blindness.
Studies show that 80 percent of blindness is avoidable and 90 percent of blind people live in low income communities. The problem is that the traditional way of diagnosing this condition can be quite expensive. Using an Android app called Peek community health workers can effectively make an eye examination using only a smartphone and little training.
Some of the key features of the Peek app include
- Patient record with Geo-tagging
- Visual Acuity
- Visual field testing
- Colour Vision Testing
- Contrast Sensitivity Testing
- Lens imaging for cataract
- Retinal Imaging
- Image grading
Using the Peek app starts by gathering information of the patient. The name, phone number, location of the test (inside or outside) is being recorded. Google Maps plays a big role here since it is used to show where the test is conducted.
The first test examines what the patient can see. If an abnormal condition is detected then the app goes on to other examinations to determine the cause. The lenses of the eyes are being checked for cataracts and the retina itself is also being inspected for abnormalities. The images gathered from the examination are uploaded to a server which can be examined at a later date. It can also be viewed instantly from Google Drive, Gmail, or Dropbox for those who have been given access.
The best part about using Peek is that it is portable, affordable, and provides a cost effective way to comprehensively diagnose blindness. The next step that the team plans to do is to compare the effectiveness of Peek on a smartphone at the hands of a community health worker with a $100,000 worth of eye examination equipment run by a team of more than 15 people in a hospital.
This app is developed by Stewart Jordan who personally stayed in Kenya for 10 months making sure to understand the real world challenges that are encountered when making a diagnosis in the field.