Revolutionary technology will mean children can have eye tests at home

Hospital unites with Cambs authorities for DigiVis

DigiVis, a web-based application, allows adults and children to test their vision accurately at home and enables accurate sight testing for individuals aged four-years-old and over using digital devices. - Credit: Cambridge University Hospitals

Schoolchildren across Cambridgeshire who miss eye tests during lockdown  can now be screened at home.

DigiVis, a web-based application, allows adults and children to test their vision accurately at home and enables accurate sight testing for individuals aged four-years-old and over. 

Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge has teamed up with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child programme’, the county council, and the NHS to help pupils who have missed screening during the pandemic.

Dr Louise Allen tests out DigiVis technology

Dr Louise Allen, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist at Cambridge University Hospitals, tries the new DigiVis technology using a smartphone and tablet. - Credit: Cambridge University Hospitals

Dr Louise Allen, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist at Cambridge University Hospitals, said: “Using digital technology will allow us to reach those children whose screening has been disrupted by the Covid crisis, to ensure that they don’t miss out. 

“The service will benefit thousands of children in the county, and may be a potential model for vision screening worldwide.” 

The app, developed by the paediatric ophthalmology team at Addenbrooke’s, requires two digital devices such as a smartphone and laptop, plus household items like a ruler, to calibrate the system. 

After pairing devices over the internet, the user then matches letters shown on their handheld device with those displayed at a distance on the other device. 

A tablet used to test the DigiVis technology for eye tests.

The DigiVis app requires two digital devices such as a smartphone and tablet, plus household items like a ruler, to work. - Credit: Cambridge University Hospitals

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The app then works out a measurement called visual acuity, which is judged by the smallest size letter that can be recognised. 

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “It goes to show how committed we all are to delivering a safe and effective service to our children at all times.” 

Parents are being contacted through their child’s school with information about vision screening and the DigiVis test, which can identify children who need a full eye examination. 

Dr Louise Allen from Cambridge University Hospitals

Dr Louise Allen, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist at Cambridge University Hospitals, said the new DigiVis technology will benefit "thousands of children across the county" and possibly worldwide. - Credit: Cambridge University Hospitals

DigiVis, which has been clinically tested and CE marked, is also backed by the Medical Research Council, Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and charity Fight Against Blindness. 

Andrea Graves, service lead for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme, said: “By sharing our resources and expertise, we can ensure children are not missing out on a vital check early in their development. 

“Using DigiVis is just one of the choices we are offering families as an interim solution whilst we operate under the current restrictions. 

“If families need help using DigiVis or have questions about vision screening or concerns about their child’s vision please call us on 0300 029 50 50 or text us on 07520 649 887.” 

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