Prof Andrew Bastawrous with the Peek visual acuity test © Rolex Joan Bardeletti
ICEH Professor Andrew Bastawrous, co-founder of award-winning eye health social enterprise Peek Vision, has been awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for ‘services to eye health overseas’.
Andrew has been passionate about vision and eye health since a pair of glasses changed his life at the age of twelve. Soon after, he recognised that so many people around the world didn’t have access to transformative interventions like glasses or eye surgery, which set him on a path to spend a lifetime contributing to solving the problem.
By engaging governments, thought-leaders, doers and donors, Andrew has inspired individuals and groups to collaborate with him on solving vision loss for over two decades. His work includes teaching eye health leaders, conducting research to inform best practices, developing new technologies, raising money and building teams, including co-founding a global vision fund and the award-winning social enterprise, Peek Vision.
Peek Vision began as a PhD project for Andrew at ICEH in 2012 before spinning out into a separate enterprise in 2015/16.
Peek provides a smartphone vision-testing app that anyone can use, even in the hardest-to-reach locations. The app is embedded into a powerful system for eye health data capture and analysis. With Peek, eye health programme providers can follow the patient journey from screening to treatment and identify where patients are left behind. Programmes powered by Peek currently reach over a quarter of a million people per month.
All of Peek’s systems and products are validated through research with ICEH, and research helps to develop new products and programmes.
Upon receiving the award, Andrew said: “I am so fortunate to be surrounded by thoughtful, brilliant and courageous people. My wife Madeleine and my parents have made many sacrifices in pursuit of the work we are committed to. I am blessed to work with leaders, teams, partners and mentors who have supported and continue to give generously of their gifts, time and resources to create a future where everyone has the opportunity to access eye care and unlock the potential that is universal in everyone. This award recognises the efforts of so many people, many unseen, whose collective dedication and commitment makes ending avoidable vision loss a possibility in our lifetimes.”
Professor Matthew Burton, director of ICEH said: “Congratulations to Andrew on this well-deserved award. His tireless work in eye health has been a source of inspiration for many, and his ability to create tangible change in the field has been remarkable. Peek has the potential to change both eye care and public health more widely, and Andrew’s work has done so much to bring attention to eye health as a global issue. We feel very privileged to work together and look forward to seeing him develop his work in years to come.”
The full list of the King’s Birthday Honours can be found here.