Delivering Effective Eye Care with Innovative Technology

42-year-old Juliet Maura is a female Ophthalmic nurse in Zimbabwe. Here she is performing screening and triage at a primary school in Harare.
© Casey Crafford

One of the greatest challenges in delivering effective eye care to people who live in low or middle income countries is that those living in more remote communities find it hard to access the care they need. Enter - CBM's partnership with Peek Vision.

Technology for eye care

In all the work that it does, and in all the partnerships it forges, CBM aims to find ways to bring services to the places that need them, allowing local populations to take charge of their own health. This plays an imp​ortant part in helping to strengthen the health systems in countries from the bottom up.

CBM’s collaboration w​ith Peek Vision is once such venture. Peek has developed a clinically certified smart phone vision test app with a data capture system, which enables people with no previous experience of eye health to provide effective eye screening services in schools and in the community. Not only can more eye tests be performed and serious eye conditions be identified, but people with less complicated eye conditions can receive care in local health centres in villages. This was already the case in many places but CBM-Peek programmes have made it easier.

The system of screening, data capture for referral and the sending of alerts to remind people to take up appointments is proving effective. The smartphone-based vision screening test takes less than a minute to test each eye and the Peek Capture app incorporates this functionality with data capture and referral pathways to treatment. Peek Admin supports real-time analysis to follow the patient journey and monitor service delivery.    

CBM-Peek eye health programmes are running in multiple countries across Africa and Asia. Currently there are twelve projects in five countries. The first one was launched in Pakistan in 2018 with partners COAVS and the Sindh Institute of Visual Sciences. Since then, more than 241,200 people have been screened as part of the partnership. A recently expanded  eye health programme supported by Pakistan’s National Committee for Eye Health, will reach an estimated 500,000 children in Sindh and Punjab provinces.

Peek has helped us to transform how we manage eye health caseloads, greatly increasing access to eye care at local health centres and allowing hospital staff to focus on more complex cases. The programmes have shown impressive impact and have grown significantly in scale since 2018. We’re aiming to continue to expand their reach even further in the coming months and years.
Dr Zahid Awan, ophthalmologist and Inclusive Eye Health Project Manager for CBM in Pakistan

CBM - Peek Partnership in Africa

CBM launched its first Peek-powered programme in Africa in Zimbabwe with partner the Council the Blind, in 2019. To date, 50,000 people have been screened using Peek technology in five projects in the country, which has led to 10,000 patients receiving surgery, spectacles or medication.

The CBM-Peek programme in Ethiopia is currently underway in the Kolfe Karanio district of Addis Ababa. It is being implemented by ALERT Hospital in collaboration with district health and education authorities. The project aims to reduce the prevalence of visual impairment and avoidable blindness among school children and is an example of the drive to integrate eye health into existing health systems.

There have been delays caused by the pandemic, but in Uganda CBM, Peek and partner Ruharo Eye Centre have also begun a screening campaign.

The most recent CBM-Peek collaboration is in Tanzania at a health centre in Kilimanjaro and is being implemented by Kilimanjaro Community Hospital.

The app can be used by people who only a have​ basic knowledge of using smart phones and of the English language. Its accessibility and ease of use increases coverage and reaches more clients because it does not require any particular expertise. The system is also cost-effective because it does not involve sophisticated eye equipment or specialists such as ophthalmologists to screen for the various eye conditions.
Nesia Mahenge, Country Director for CBM Tanzania.

The partnership between Peek and CBM has the potential to create more inclusive and equitable eye health services for people currently without proper access to the care they need and a system that can be built on for the future.