Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation, CheckUP acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.




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Collaboration enhances eye care in Cherbourg

Since 2010, CheckUP’s Indigenous Eye Health Program has supported state of the art ophthalmic services in communities through collaboration of services: St John Eye Van, Dr Rowan Porter, Dr Shelley Hopkins (Queensland University of Technology), Cherbourg Regional Aboriginal and Islander Community Health Service (CRAICCHS).

Funding provided by CheckUP, through the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care Outreach programs, supports visiting healthcare teams to work collaboratively to manage and treat eye health issues, and streamline the referral pathway for consumers in their community.

Pivotal to the success of the service is CRAICCHS’ local Allied Health Coordinator, Fabia Murray, whose dedication and hard work ensures consumers are not only aware of these visiting services, but are supported to attend. Fabia also assists in the coordination of the services at the local level. The close partnership between the local coordinator, visiting optometrist Dr Shelley Hopkins, and the St John Eye Van team ensures comprehensive eye health needs are met without extensive and intrusive travel to metropolitan areas. The visiting optometry clinic has expanded to include two optometrists and several Queensland University of Technology (QUT) optometry students who provide 18 clinic days per year. Demand for the service is continuing to grow.

Students have the opportunity to use eye testing equipment including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) which provides cross-sectional scans of the retina, visual field testing, and retinal photography. More importantly, the service provides a diverse and culturally responsive approach to monitoring eye health in community, preventing vision loss, and establishing referral pathways.

“Seeing the way the optometrists did the vision tests and how they managed different eye problems was very enlightening. I also learnt the trust the optometrists build with the patient, and how they explain to the patient what is occurring in their eyes, is vital for the patients to keep returning to see them. I am grateful that I was able to see the importance of the optometrist to patient relationship and hope to be able to do the same once I am working.”   – QUT optometry student.

In addition to optometry, specialised ophthalmic services are provided by Dr Porter and his team, who deliver their service in the mobile St John Eye Van (previously the Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening (IDEAS) Van). Together, the team manage common eye diseases such as refractive change, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy, offering outpatient care to local patients within their community. Having this comprehensive care delivered locally reduces waitlists, helping to prevent avoidable blindness and vision impairment.

CheckUP is committed to continuing to support the evolving eye health needs of the community, fostering partnerships, and providing comprehensive on-site care for patients like Cyril Albury, pictured below.