Smartphone camera quality may sound like a first world issue, but camera-equipped cell phones may be the key to treating the eyes of over 250 million people with visual impairments who live in third world countries. A new application called PEEK (Portable Eye Examination Kit) puts a number of standard tests on a standard smartphone. The phone’s camera can be used to scan the lens of the eye, while the LED flash is bright enough to illuminate the retina. The phone’s screen can be used to conduct various vision tests, and all the data can be geotagged using the phone’s built-in GPS, compiled into a patient record, and sent wirelessly to a doctor.
PEEK is currently undergoing trials on 5,000 patients in Kenya, but the early results are promising and have so far allowed doctors to provide further treatment to over 1,000 patients.