Using technology to provide eye care to the “invisible patients”

OT  speaks to Peek’s head of programme training, Karen Sparrow

Lady using Peek Vision device

Delegates at 100% Optical were encouraged to think about their invisible patients and how they can provide eye care to those who “never appear” in practice.

During a discussion workshop, Karen Sparrow, head of global programme training at Peek, explored how practitioners can use their smartphone to help provide eye health to this cohort of patients.

Invisible patients, the optometrist shared, could be anyone from the elderly and those with learning disabilities to refugees or prisoners.

“How do we reach out to those patients and how do we adapt what we do in eye health in order to be able to service those patients?” Ms Sparrow asked.

The charity that Ms Sparrow works for, Peek, has developed smartphone-based technology to help screen people’s vision without the need for large pieces of equipment.

While Peek Retina, a portable ophthalmoscope that can be used by the practitioner to view and capture retinal images on a smartphone wherever they are, is mainly used in low income countries, it can also be used in eye care settings in the UK such as a domiciliary environment, Ms Sparrow highlighted.

She explained that Peek first used this smartphone-based technology in a hospital in a small town in Kenya, which has now screened around 300,00 children, providing them with access to eye care and spectacles. She added that it is also being used in countries, including Zimbabwe, to provide community eye health programmes for adults, “connecting them with services so they can access the eye care they need.”

Peek’s Karen Sparrow speaks to OT at 100% Optical 2020

100% Optical 2021 will be held at ExCeL on 23–25 January.