By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
“Vision impairment is the most prevalent disability among U.S. children” Paul Stanley says, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Vice President of Customer Experience for GoCheckKids says that one in five children is at risk for vision disorders that can lead to permanent vision loss and learning disabilities.
“All young kids starting at one years-old should be photo-screened annually,” Stanley says. The examination detects irregularity like lazy eye at a time when the child might not realize something is amiss.
What physician are youth in that age group most likely to see on a regular basis? It is their pediatrician.
GoCheckKids, the Nashville-headquartered company Stanley recently joined, has developed an easy-to-use, cost-efficient solution that allows pediatricians to regularly perform examinations in their offices.
“We are using a smartphone to perform the screening,” he says, adding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-cleared device performs photo screening and visual acuity tests. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that photo screening begin at one-year old and visual acuity testing beginning as early as four years of age.
You are no doubt saying something to the effect that this is not a normal smartphone. In one sense it is, but with added features.
The GoCheckKids app leverages the camera and flash of the smartphone to capture the red reflex. Using sophisticated software and algorithms, the technology allows GoCheckKids to identify the majority of vision risks in children.
“Our solution prevents permanent vision loss on commodity hardware, not expensive and special-designed hardware,” Stanley explains of the core platform. “We are purposely not building hardware so we don’t need to charge as much as previous solutions.
The company has been selling the solution since 2014 and is currently working on an upgraded version that would operate on the iPhone 7 Plus that GoCheckKids hopes to release by the end of this year.
“It (our technology) is specific to the camera,” Stanley says. As such, the iPhone is the only new mobile device that GoCheckKids has certified.
Most of the company’s senior executives, including its Chief Executive Officer, are in Nashville with the balance in Arizona and California.
As far as the pandemic that Stanley says is occurring, he says there are “no firm theories about the cause.” One factor could be the widespread use of computers, tablets and other mobile devices and the resulting increase in screen reading.