Overview

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Care research group is based at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, QUT. It is part of the Vision Improvement Domain of QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innnovation (IHBI). The group has undertaken several studies examining the provision of optometric services to Indigenous communities throughout Australia:

  • Survey of service provision by Queensland optometrists to Indigenous communities
    Optometrists were found to have been providing some level of regular primary eye care to Indigenous communities in Queensland over many years, including services to a significant number of remote and rural locations (reference 1).
  • Survey of selected Indigenous communities across Queensland regarding the availability and utilisation of primary eye care
    Cultural barriers along with availability and understanding of eye care were shown to be major issues (reference 2).
  • Development of a culturally appropriate visual acuity chart (Turtle Chart)
    Validation of testing procedures was undertaken and published (reference 3).
  • Large scale national survey of the service provision of optometrists to Indigenous communities
    The aim of this study was to determine the level and characteristics of optometric service provision and to identify those optometrists who would be willing to provide a service.
Shelley Hopkins is currently undertaking PhD studies in the area of Indigenous eye health. Her study will look at the link between visual factors and academic achievement in Indigenous primary school-aged children, with the overall goal of improving the efficacy of vision screening in this population.

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Eye care brochures

Culturally appropriate brochures, posters and stickers promoting to Indigenous communities the importance of regular eye care.

Resources for Indigenous Eye Care

Following from research done in the area, the School of Optometry and Vision Science has developed a range of culturally appropriate brochures, posters and stickers promoting to Indigenous communities the importance of regular eye care.

Other resources have also been developed for Indigenous communities

  • Culturally appropriate video and brochures describing what happens in a diabetes eye exam (to be used by Indigenous health workers in the community)
  • Culturally appropriate visual acuity charts (Turtle Chart)
  • QUT School of Optometry and Vision Science Eye Care Resources brochure (PDF file, 337.89 KB). An order form is included in the brochure.

Training

  • Pilot scheme to train indigenous health workers regarding the complications of diabetes in the eyes. Lecture and workshop format which resulted from close consultation with the indigenous community, School of Public Health and Social Work and School of Optometry and Vision Science, QUT.
  • Teleconferences to optometrists throughout Australia covering common eye and systemic health problems in Indigenous communities, cultural issues and management strategies for better professional relationships with the community.

Publications and output

  1. Wood JM, Wildsoet CF. (1996) Optometric services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Queensland. Clin Exp Optom, 79: 215-226.
  2. Wildsoet CF, Wood JM. (1996) Primary eye care needs and services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations across Queensland: a "users" perspective. Clin Exp Optom, 79: 188-201.
  3. Wildsoet CF, Wood JM, Hassan S. (1998) Development and validation of a visual acuity chart for Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Optom Vis Sci. 75: 806-812.