British researchers have been conducting tests in order to find alternatives to conventional vision testing. A new test called Peek, developed by a team at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, went through trials on 233 subjects in Kenya.
The test studied effectiveness in comparison with conventional methods that use charts and lens for detecting early eyesight problems.
In many African countries healthcare problems revolve around the availability of doctors and possible access to them. Remote areas and conflict zones have little or no healthcare coverage and most aid available concerns higher risk medical issues like parasites and viruses.
The test uses a simple E letter which shows on the phone screen and held and held at 2 meter distance from the patient. Simple recognition of the letter and simplicity of the test makes it usable in different areas regardless of cultural differences both for patient and user. Other types of testing are possible using the backlight or camera flash to illuminate the back of the eye and thus check the retina’s health.
Considering cost and availability, the app and phone costs are much lower than the conventional standard equipment and training required to operate the new device is a lot shorter and cost-effective by removing the need for special clinics and expensive equipment. Removing the need to carry heavy and sensitive equipment for miles can reduce cost of diagnostic and thus a degree of preventive medicine.
The testing was done at the 233 patient’s homes or close by mobile clinics and analysis showed that testers did not specifically require advanced healthcare experience. The test data concluded that accuracy of diagnosis did not differ much from a professional 1’th world clinic.
Such test’s can reduce the cases of severe eye problems in rural areas cutting cost of treatment as well making it more available. Easy access to such test could divert some of the pressure of urban clinics which now are overwhelmed by demand.
Peek test usage does not stop here, the developers are now working on furthering research that will allow the phone app to test contrast range or color accuracy.
Image Source: tinypic.com