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.