Time to celebrate Peek Vision

Charity founder is named a Rolex Laureate for his work in sub-Saharan Africa

22 Nov 2016 by Olivia Wannan

Peek Vision’s Dr Andrew Bastawrous was honoured in the Rolex Awards ceremony last week (15 November, Los Angeles).

The founder of the smartphone-based eye examination system was named a Rolex Laureate, earning him a prize fund of 100,000 Swiss francs towards his initiative.

Rolex outlined that Dr Bastawrous is “radically changing eye care in sub-Saharan Africa and other resource-poor settings.”

The money will be put towards Peek’s latest project, establishing a centre of excellence in Kitale, Kenya to train eye care workers to use the Peek Vision systems.

The Peek Acuity app was released to a global, initial audience in October, and the Peek Retina app and hardware will be released in 2017.

Peek Vision is also planning to build apps and hardware to enable school, community and diabetic retinopathy screening, as well as population surveys, to be done using a smartphone, Dr Bastawrous told OT.

“Our work with Peek is focused around bringing access to eye care to those who need it most. Consequently, all our focus has been in low- and middle-income countries. We do, however, recognise that, despite a well-established health service in the UK and Europe, this doesn’t mean everyone receives the services they need.

“I was 12 years old before I had my first vision test, by which point I was a moderately visually impaired and couldn’t see the blackboard. That eye test and the subsequent glasses I received profoundly changed my life.”

He believed Peek’s systems would improve eye care in countries with established eye care systems, as well as those without.

“The tools and systems we build are designed to bring more people to eye care services. We hope therefore that in time, Peek will bring more people to services in the UK and Europe who will receive the benefits I’ve been so fortunate to receive,” he highlighted.

Dr Bastawrous explained that Peek Vision worked with partners for all its programmes to allow patients screened with the apps to access spectacles, medication and appropriate secondary care if required.

Image credit: Peek Vision

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