Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2016: Being Well

Arclight: a pocket ophthalmoscope for the 21st century

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 14 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6637
  1. Andrew Blaikie, senior lecturer1,
  2. John Sandford-Smith, emeritus consultant ophthalmologist2,
  3. Sahib Y Tuteja, third year medical student1,
  4. Christopher D Williams, senior lecturer3,
  5. Christopher O’Callaghan, professor of respiratory and paediatric medicine4
  1. 1University of St Andrews School of Medicine, St Andrews KY16 9TF, UK
  2. 2Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK
  3. 3Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
  4. 4UCL Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
  1. Correspondence to: A Blaikie ab312{at}

Andrew Blaikie and colleagues discuss the Arclight, a cheap, portable device for use in low and middle income countries that was inspired by a Christmas article in The BMJ

“Wow, it really works!”—rural health worker, Malawi, 2016

“Less is more”—Peter Behrens, Architect, 1868-1940

Around 285 million people in the world are estimated to be visually impaired,1 and 360 million hearing impaired,2 with the majority of cases considered preventable or treatable if diagnosed promptly. Ophthalmoscopes and otoscopes are typically designed for wealthy countries and are complex, heavy, and expensive; their basic designs have remained relatively unchanged for over 100 years.3 Very few practitioners in low and middle income countries have these essential tools. If they do, they are typically hand-me-downs that don’t work because they need parts that are hard to find or expensive, such as bulbs and batteries.4 The vast majority of cases of vision and hearing impairment, however, are found in these countries with least access to …

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