What started as a research project has evolved into a dynamic social enterprise, unwavering in its vision of “vision and eye health for all.”
Ophthalmologist Dr Andrew Bastawrous embarked on his PhD project at the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine – a comprehensive survey of eye disease in Nakuru, Kenya. While living and working in Kenya, he observed the challenges associated with testing people for vision problems; there are not enough healthcare workers to serve the population and a limited infrastructure hindered access, leaving many people with avoidable vision loss.
This realisation sparked the ‘eye-phone’ project which aimed to create a clinically validated vision testing application on a smartphone that could be used by anyone, even in the hardest to reach areas of the world.
Several awards and research grants allowed the project to continue testing and development. In 2014 a validation study was completed in Kenya. The study showed that Peek Acuity, our standalone vision check app, is as accurate as conventional distance vision tests.
Peek Acuity launches on the Google Play Store as the world’s first clinically-validated visual acuity test smartphone app and Peek begins the process of spinning out from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, supported by the university and our visionary founder Board members.
With Peek’s mobile vision check clinically validated, the team turned its attention to a major challenge: making the most efficient use of limited resources and ensuring that the hardest to reach people are given the opportunity to access eye care. Trials of Peek in school and community eye health programmes are launched in Kenya, Botswana, and India. These aimed to test if using Peek’s vision testing app plus data intelligence could deliver more effective eye health programmes. The studies showed that Peek’s technology works, with greatly improved outcomes in the programmes where it was implemented. For instance, in Kenya, more than double the proportion of children attended follow-up appointments with Peek.
Peek begins working with our anchor partner, leading disability INGO, CBM Christian Blind Mission. The first CBM programmes powered by Peek began in Pakistan, aiming to take our evidence base into live programmes for the first time. Several more programmes were launched in multiple countries. By the end of 2019 Peek-powered programmes had reached 66,000 people. During this period, the Peek core team grew from 8 staff in 2018 to 36 people worldwide, united in a mission to bring better vision and health to everyone.
During the Covid-19 pandemic the Peek team transitioned to fully remote working for the first time, accelerating our plans to deliver training sessions for new users remotely. This leads to much more efficient deployment of Peek-powered programmes.
The latest Peek research study was published in the Lancet Digital Health, comparing a Peek-powered community eye health programme in Kenya to a conventional programme. The results show that with Peek, almost three times the number of people with eye problems were connected to care compared to conventional programmes.
RAAB7, an enhanced mobile version of the industry-standardRapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness, powered by Peek, was launched.
The Vision Impact Project launches in Kenya – a multi-county project led by CBM and Kenya’s Ministry of Health, powered by Peek. The project reached more than one million people in its first year and continues to expand.
Peek partners with the Government of Botswana to launch Pono Yame (“My vision”), one of Africa’s first government-led national school eye health programmes. The programme aims to screen and provide appropriate treatment to every school-going child in the country.
Two new products were developed and began integration into Peek’s suite of products – a near vision testing application and the School Eye Health Rapid Assessment.
Who we are
Peek has team members based across the world. We are from a diverse range of backgrounds, including software development, public health, research, eye health, international development and the private sector.
Awards and recognition
We are honoured when the work we do is recognised and jubilant when recognition leads to increased awareness and support.
Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize 2023
Andrew Bastawrous is a co-winner of the global prize for leadership
Digital Leaders 100 Awards 2023
Peek wins the Digital SME of the Year award
AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2021
Peek wins the Tech4Good for Africa award
All African Public Service Innovation Awards (AAPSIA) 2018
Peek is named the overall winner at the All African Public Service Innovation Award
UBS Global Visionaries 2018
Recognised for his entrepreneurial leadership, Andrew Bastawrous is named a UBS Global Visionary
Google Play Awards 2017
Peek Acuity shortlisted for the Best Social Impact app
Ashoka Fellowship 2017
Andrew Bastawrous is elected to the Fellowship. Ashoka Fellows are often recognised as the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.
Digital Top 50 Awards 2016
Peek wins Best Tech for Social Impact in these awards supported by McKinsey, Google and Rocket Internet
Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2016
Andrew Bastawrous is selected as a Rolex Award for Enterprise Laureate
The Forum of Young Global Leaders 2015
Andrew Bastawrous is invited to join this dynamic community, which is an initiative of the World Economic Forum
AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2014
Peek wins the Tech4Good Digital Health award
TED Fellowship 2014
Andrew Bastawrous is made a TED Fellow. His TED talks have been viewed over 2.75 million times.
Want to join our award-winning team?
Find out more about our current open roles.