MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Andrew Bastawrous, Ophthalmologist
Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Dr. Bastawrous’ smartphone-based portable eye examination system, Peek Vision, allows patients in low resource setting, to be screened for vision problems and eye diseases, enabling accurate diagnosis and treatment.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for Peek Vision? What are the main findings of your work with this system?
Response: Mama Paul has been blind for almost 20 years, most of her time is spent within the safety of her tiny home. It is basic, but in her mind’s eye she can still picture where the door is, her son – Paul, lives next door and is always willing to help.
Losing sight is the sense most people fear losing most.
I am severely visually impaired, I am also fortunate to have perfect vision when wearing corrective glasses or contact lenses and privileged to be in the profession of ophthalmology where centuries of research and practice have brought us to a time when so much of blindness is now curable or preventable.
There is no feeling like it: when the eye patch comes off someone who hasn’t seen for years, the sheer wonder as they take in their surroundings and their anticipation to see faces that have become voices and places that have become memories.
Back in 2011, as I pondered and planned for the challenges that lay ahead of us in Kenya, I had the continual thought that there must be an easier way to reach people, a way that is less expensive, less resource hungry and therefore could be used on a much wider scale.
In Kenya, and much of Africa, more people have access to a mobile phone than they do clean running water. It had to be possible to harness this connectivity.