The World Health Organization estimates that there are some 285 million people with vision problems, of whom about 90% live in low-income areas.
The ophthalmologist Andrew Bastawrous designed Peek App, which is a portable eye examination kit. This project that has managed to be won Rolex Awards Laureate in 2016. A humanitarian recognition that the watch company gives each year since 1976 to 10 entrepreneurs who have demonstrated passion and spirit to make the world a better place.
It all started in 2012 when Bastawrous left the UK to move with his family to Kenya. It had a clear objective: to go to the most depressed areas of the country so that everyone could access basic services of ophthalmology. Many people had no chance to even examine their eyesight, and there were patients who had a totally treatable blindness. “I can not believe we live in a world where we already know how to provide treatments and they do not work out. It is extremely unfair.
“The project had to face many challenges that, little by little, was bypassing. In Africa, there is a large deficit of domestic electricity and transport infrastructures. However, much of the population has telephone coverage. “In Kenya and Black Africa there are more people with access to a mobile phone than clean running water,” says the doctor.
The solution promoted by the doctor consisted in harnessing the potential of smartphones to create an application of ocular diagnosis. The information would be recorded in a database. To all this must be added a small low-cost hardware printed in 3D that adheres to the mobile with which it is possible to examine the retina in depth. All of these make up the Peek portable eye exam kit. The Bastawrous system is much cheaper and less heavy than conventional equipment. Everything a success. In only nine days 25 teachers were able to examine more than 20,000 students.
Thanks to Rolex, a Peek training center will be established in a locality in Kenya, as well as favoring exports to countries with lack of ophthalmic services. If in the West a mobile provokes diopters, in Africa it heals them.