Kenyan medic behind new for eye-test kit

Tuesday March 1 2016

Dr Hillary Rono, an ophthalmologist and the eye care coordinator for Trans Nzoia, West Pokot and Turkana counties, demonstrates to Trans Nzoia county teachers how the Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek) works. PHOTO | COURTESY | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Dr Hillary Rono, an ophthalmologist and the eye care coordinator for Trans Nzoia, West Pokot and Turkana counties, demonstrates to Trans Nzoia county teachers how the Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek) works. PHOTO | COURTESY | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EUNICE KILONZO
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A Kenyan doctor has partnered with a British university to develop an eye-test kit using a mobile phone.

The Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek) is a mobile app downloaded in a smartphone and will be used to screen nearly 300,000 pupils in 400 schools in Trans Nzoia County in the next three years.

The brains behind it are Dr Hillary Rono and a team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Other counties lined up to benefit include Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo-Marakwet, West Pokot and Narok.

“This app uses smartphone technology to carry out various eye tests, including visual acuity, colour vision as well as lens and retina imaging. We have used it over the last year in Trans Nzoia,” said Dr Rono on Monday at Kilimani Primary School in Nairobi where Peek was launched.

After children are screened, they are referred to a hospital and their parents and the headteacher are informed of the diagnosis and treatment. The records are compiled in a cloud-based data system.

Using this mobile app is 50 times cheaper than buying eye-testing machines, said Dr Rono, from the Kitale District Hospital Ophthalmologist Unit.