Tens of millions of people are blind due to curable and preventable diseases, but the vast majority live in remote parts of the world without access to standard medical equipment and treatment.

That’s why Andrew Bastawrous, research fellow at the International Centre for Eye Health, helped to create an inexpensive ophthalmic tool that snaps onto smartphones and pairs with a mobile app for eye exams.

“More people in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa have access to mobile phones than they do clean-running water, so we said, ‘Could we harness the power of mobile technology to deliver eye care in a new way?'” Bastawrous said during a TED Talk in March that went online on Wednesday.

Specifically, the Peek adapter and software is designed to allow community health care workers — equipped with phones, bikes, basic training and solar backpacks — to properly diagnose the root cause of eye issues in difficult to reach areas of the continent and then arrange for follow-up treatment. Bastawrous and his colleagues have been studying the progression of major eye diseases in Africa and the impact of the smartphone technology.

“There have to be easier ways, because it’s the patients most in need of eye care who are least likely to get it,” Bastawrous said.

Learn more in the video that follows.




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