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Retina Global uses Eyer to track diseases in Kenya
November 7, 2022
Manoela Campos


In total, 26 people had retinal problems, including one child and one young adult. Specialists in the USA made online reports.
Retina Global

Retina Global is an international, non-profit organization that seeks to enable sustainable solutions for the care of retinal diseases in underserved areas around the world.

Currently, the institution has projects in Central and South America and in Asia. It has already implemented programs in Tanzania, Kenya, Bolivia, Belize, Bahamas, Burundi, Ethiopia, Haiti and Brazil.

The NGO, in partnership with the project Iluminar, tracked and treated diabetic retinopathy in 13 municipalities in Sergipe hinterlands.

The team used the Phelcom Eyer, a smart, medical device, to carry out high-quality retinal exams (without having to dilate pupils) and make images available for remote diagnosis.

Recently, the organization has used the equipment again to track retinal diseases in Kericho, a town in rural Kenya, Africa.

Learn more about the project of Retina Global in Kenya, with the support of Eyer.

Retina Global in Kenya

For two days, the volunteer team from Retina Global made an initial evaluation, and then referred the patients for fundus exams with Eyer. Both the images and patients’ histories were
immediately available in the Eyer Cloud online platform.

Specialists in retina, based in the United States, made the reports. In total, 26 people were found to have retinal abnormalities, including a child and one young adult. “With that, we could diagnose quickly and start early treatment”, said the leader of Retina Global project in Kenya, Diane Steinhilber.

“We will keep using the equipment to identify and select the patients in need of specialized retinal care”, she highlights.

Lack of access to eye health

Steinhilber explains that the great challenge of this project is the lack of a retina specialist in this rural area of Kenya. Patients who need specialized treatment are referred to hospitals in Nairobi, the country’s capital, which is located roughly five hours away.

“To see a doctor, they face an arduous and long trip, as well as the time away from their jobs and families. Screening through Eyer allows us to quickly refer patients that are in real need of care in specialized centers”, she states.

As some patients have difficulties to get to the hospital, the project plans to send a trained team on community missions. Moreover, the project searches for a portable machine for laser treatment, as well as tools to carry out other kinds of therapies, such as intraocular injections and surgeries.

“Our team evaluated in detail the best way to implement a project that is able to provide exams and information on retinal care and also one that is sustainable in the long-term”, she says. Therefore, the project in Kenya was divided in phases to be implemented over five years.

Eyer use in Kenya

Retina Global

Retina Global team in Kenya took part on a remote training to learn how to handle the technology. “Eyer is extremely easy to handle. It is possible to promptly identify the images, quickly create patient database and send the photos to the doctor in the United States for review and reporting”, she says.

The project leader also highlights another advantage of Eyer: it not only has data for patient follow-up and continuous care, but also is a way to obtain information on the prevalence of retinal diseases in the region.

“Without Eyer, Retina Global would not have even started in Kenya. Further than using it in more local communities, we plan to include it in other projects to take place around the world”, she finishes.

Retina Global

Phelcom Eyer

Phelcom Eyer is a portable fundus camera that works to carry out high-quality fundus exams in a few minutes without the need of pupil dilation.

Integrated to an online platform, Eyer Cloud, the data is automatically sent and can be analyzed by a specialist anywhere in the world. That is, it allows remote diagnosis.

More than that, its embedded artificial intelligence provides smart features to help medical diagnosis and the capture of retinal scans. On the other hand, the portability and affordability of the technology democratize the access to retinal exams. The Eyer is about 10 times more affordable than a desktop fundus camera, which still has to be integrated into a computer.

Phelcom Technologies developed the technology, which is currently present all over Brazil and in countries such as the United States, Japan and Chile.

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