I spent my summer working with PeekVision in Gaborone, Botswana. Peek Vision, a London-based startup of ophthalmologists, software developers, and hardware engineers, has developed a quick and easy vision test using smart phones and clip-on hardware, the Portable Eye Examination Kit (Peek). The kit is clinically validated for visual acuity, tested for suitability to be integrated into low resource health systems, and recently piloted in 12,000 school children in Botswana, as phase 1 of a national rollout.
In preparation for phase II of the national rollout plan, which will screen all elementary school children in Botswana for refractive defects, I worked with PeekVision staff to determine how to improve the nationwide implementation of the eye screening process. I traveled to remote areas of Botswana where Peek was originally piloted and conducted informational interviews with optometrists, nurses, and school teachers to get their opinions on the use of PeekVision. The main finding was that while users found the app easy to use and enthusiastically supported it, their buy-in was reduced by bureaucratic hurdles, including not receiving promised compensation. I also used the informational interviews to help Penn Design students create a new, functional carrying case for the PeekVision kit.