FORT COLLINS, CO -- The team behind Peek, the Portable Eye Examination Kit, and Optibrand Ltd., LLC announce a collaboration as part of the solution to preventing avoidable blindness by increasing access to potentially life-changing new eye health testing equipment.
Peek consists of smartphone apps and an adapter which can be used by health workers anywhere in the world to test eyes easily and affordably in the community. This is especially important as millions of people around the world are not able to get to clinics or hospitals to seek help.
Nearly all of the tools are being developed as a collaboration between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Strathclyde and the NHS Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research, pooling their complementary expertise in international eye health, biomedical engineering and ophthalmic research.
Their latest creation, which was announced on November 26, is called Peek Retina, a smartphone adapter engineered at the University of Strathclyde and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which clips over the phone's camera and enables health workers to see inside the eye with the video camera on the smart phone. Many eye diseases and other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can be detected with a good view of the retina.
The team at Optibrand has always been involved in the development of software that automatically focuses on and automatically captures the best single retinal images it detects from a video stream. More recently, its RetCheck™ Technology software has the added capability to stitch the images together into a single, wide field of view panorama image all done in real time.
When combined with the Peek and Peek Retina, the RetCheck Technology is able to automatically save the best retinal photos and then send them to experts for diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Millions of people worldwide are blind, and 80% of all blind people have needlessly lost their sight through preventable or treatable conditions. With so much avoidable vision loss occurring, the Peek team shares a passion for developing affordable, portable and easy-to-use tools to reach the people who need eye care most.
Peek was formed after co-founder Dr Andrew Bastawrous experienced a logistical nightmare trying to transport bulky eye equipment to remote areas in Kenya during a community study as part of his PhD at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He was convinced there must be a better way and turned his attention to the potential power of smartphones, teaming up with his fellow Peek co-founders, Stewart Jordan, Dr Mario Giardini and Dr Iain Livingstone, to make the idea a reality.
Dr Bastawrous, who is a Clinical Lecturer and ophthalmologist within the International Centre for Eye Health at LSHTM, said: "With Peek we are hoping to increase the access to eye care to the millions of people who are blind and shouldn't be. For this to be a success we need to find a sustainable way of sharing the technology as far and wide as possible."
Optibrand was founded in 1998 and has always been involved in retinal imaging software development. It has developed patented software for use with retinal video cameras that automatically focuses and captures the best retinal images the software detects. Two patents have been issued regarding its technology and in December 2013, the company filed for its third patent regarding the building of a real time, wide field of view, retinal panorama image.
Joe Ritter, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Optibrand said, "Peek is known throughout the world for its commitment to providing affordable eye care to the global community, especially those living in middle to lower income countries, and has made great strides in achieving that. They provide Optibrand with a great platform to contribute to that commitment and we are honored to do so."