PlenOptika partners with Sightsavers and the Fred Hollows Foundation for innovative task reallocation study

Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 12 – PlenOptika’s partnership with two non-profits, Sightsavers and the Fred Hollows Foundation, pilots a new vision care strategy that aims to dramatically increase global access to vision correction.

It’s estimated that, worldwide, one billion people need prescription glasses. While the demand for eye care services is increasing, low and middle income countries and underserved communities in wealthy countries have struggled to meet this need because of a lack of eye health professionals.

“We believe PlenOptika’s QuickSee™ handheld autorefractor will enable community health workers to accurately perform refractions in pharmacies and health centers, making vision services much more accessible and affordable,” noted Shivang Dave, PhD, PlenOptika CEO and technology co-creator.

Sightsavers and the Fred Hollows Foundation are conducting pilot programs in Sierra Leone and Nepal, utilizing the World Health Organization’s task reallocation and role optimization strategy, which more efficiently uses available resources by reassigning refractive services from the very scarce eye health workers to much more numerous community health workers.

The pilot program will explore whether trained community health workers can accurately and effectively screen for refractive errors at scale using handheld technology. In low to middle income countries, use of this technology has been limited by the undersupply of eye health professionals and access to them.

The results of the pilot program will help determine if the pragmatic and sustainable approach can become an integral part of eye health services anywhere in the world.

Read how QuickSee is helping underserved populations in the U.S.

“We have always believed that QuickSee has the potential to greatly expand refractive services to billions of people, enabling them to obtain prescription eyeglasses that enhance individuals’ education and employment capabilities, as well as their overall health and happiness,” Dave said.