Ophthalmoscopy For All
How one team is on a mission to transform eyecare with simple yet clever engineering – and a focus on low cost
Ruth Steer |
In a bid to provide affordable technology to resource-poor countries, the humble ophthalmoscope has had a makeover – or rather a ‘makeunder.’ With a simplified design, a patented LED light source and a solar panel, the Arclight is a pocket instrument the size of a marker pen and lighter than an AA battery. The device is significantly lower in cost than the traditional ophthalmoscope – and its potential to serve those who need it most was quickly recognized by global health leaders. More than 8,000 devices have been distributed across the world – with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) based in London, UK, helping with marketing and sales to many countries including Malawi, Ethiopia, Fiji and Indonesia.
But the device isn’t just for eyecare. It also features an otoscope and a magnifying loupe, making it a valuable multi-tool for general physicians across specialties – as well as a handy teaching instrument for medical students. The ultimate goal? To make ophthalmoscopy more accessible to all, and to transform care in low and middle-income countries. John Sandford-Smith, Andrew Blaikie and William J Williams share the story behind the Arclight…
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