Combating the avoidable

How Peek Retina showcases the UK’s passion for supporting the needs of global health

Eye test

While the trials and tribulations of the UK’s exit from the European Union has rightly dominated the debate in the build-up to the General Election on 8 June, one would expect that other key issues will, in time, get a look in.

For optics, each political party’s take on the future of the NHS, as well as support for UK scientific research and academia, are ones to watch out for in the soon-to-be-published manifestos. I am expecting big promises and scant detail.

One issue that made a surprise appearance in the headlines in the first week of Teresa May’s election announcement was the future funding of foreign aid.

Challenged over the Government’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national income a year on foreign aid, the Prime Minister quashed media speculation that the Conservatives would drop the pledge – a move greeted by Microsoft founder and passionate advocate of global health issues, Bill Gates, among others, who said any cut would cost lives and erode UK influence abroad. Concerns that the definition of what constitutes foreign aid could be watered down do persist, however.

One UK-based company with clear-cut aspirations to make a global impact is Peek, a social impact enterprise that works to give healthcare providers the tools and knowledge needed to deliver high quality, sustainable eye care.

OT has been following this inspiring story, led by co-founder Dr Andrew Bastawrous, who started Peek as a result of his experiences of transporting eye equipment to rural communities in Kenya, gathering eye health data for his PhD at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Last month saw the company launch Peek Retina, a smartphone camera adapter that enables the examination of the optic nerve and macula – watch OT’s video with the Peek team for the bigger picture.

The device clips over the camera on any smartphone, enabling users to capture an image of the back of the retina and share it easily without the need for a desktop retinal camera.

Peek has big ambitions, telling OT: “We believe Peek Retina can make a significant impact on avoidable blindness by removing barriers to access and enabling new examinations to be performed.” They are calling on users and supporters to give as much feedback as possible so that, as Peek puts it, Peek Retina “can be made even better.”

To support Peek, visit its JustGiving page or email them.

Image credit: Flickr