An interactive children’s story that doubles as an eye test

Health / OPSM

One in six kids have a vision problem. For many, the issue goes undetected. OPSM decided to do something about it.

Since its founding in 1932, OPSM has endeavored to continually raise the standard of eye care in Australia and New Zealand. In 2014, they turned their attention to the eye health of children, which often goes unchecked for a number of reasons. For starters, many kids don’t like going to the optometrist. Others live in remote areas and can’t easily make the trip. Plus, at the time, there was no standard eye screening process for children. So OPSM asked: How can we create an accessible, standardized eye exam that children will actually want to take? Together with the Department of Vision Sciences at Melbourne University and Saatchi & Saatchi, Two Bulls/DEPT® partnered with OPSM in their search for a solution.

Penny the Pirate is a free, interactive storybook that tests children’s vision.

Together with our partners, we developed the award-winning story of Penny the Pirate, a young swashbuckler with dreams of becoming the captain of the ship. As children follow Penny on her adventure, they unknowingly come across three eye tests. The interactive digital experience—designed and built by Two Bulls/DEPT®—is complemented by a physical pirate kit full of fun props that kids use during these screenings. When parents check their child’s results online, they’ll know if there are any issues with distance vision, color blindness and depth perception. From there, they can immediately book an OPSM eye test for further evaluation if needed.


Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the eye exam, which won many awards. 👓

As the world’s first to combine a children’s book with a certified eye test, Penny the Pirate turned a lot of heads. The project earned more than 80 awards and accolades, including the Cannes Lions 2014 Silver and Bronze for mobile. The app reached #1 in Health & Fitness on the App Store. Within two years of launch, over 350,000 kids got an eye test through Penny the Pirate gave and OPSM saw a 188% increase in eyewear sales. But most importantly, the gap in children’s eye care in Australia and New Zealand is finally getting narrower as kids can more easily take an eye exam—without even knowing it.

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