Imagine looking into your smart phone, pressing a few buttons, and getting a prescription for eyeglasses. EyeNetra, an award-winning project out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, has created a phone app and clip-on attachment that enables people to easily diagnose a variety of eye conditions. The project team’s goal is to “democratize access to eye care” around the world… using a device that nearly everyone owns.
David Schafran, a project manager for EyeNetra, explains how poor vision plays a role in work productivity and illiteracy — two driving factors of poverty in developing countries. In addition, many countries lack the professional and technical resources to offer basic eye care to the millions who need it. Through EyeNetra, people receive a prescription to correct vision problems so they can be more effective in their jobs or perform better in school. The device can also spur development of microenterprises and other businesses catering to the local population.
The EyeNetra device has been piloted in over 20 locations around the world over the past year. The team is now exploring various social enterprise business models to spin off from MIT, and is actively seeking angel and social venture capital investors. With EyeNetra, the key to better health, economic opportunity and quality of life is in everyone’s pocket.
Click the audio player below to hear more about EyeNetra.