Kimberley Aboriginal Services Council Inc Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council Research

The Kimberley Eye Health Study

The Kimberley eye program has been built up over more than two decades, with a host of factors contributing to its current form. The eye health services in the Kimberley region includes retinal screening performed by Aboriginal health workers (AHWs) and nurses using retinal cameras for diabetic patients, mobile optometry services in remote communities and a visiting ophthalmology team.

The aims of this study are:

  • To gather background information about the origins and history of eye health services and programs in the Kimberley region for the past 10 years;
  • To describe the current model of eye health services;
  • To evaluate outcomes of eye health services by analysing quantitative data from optometry, hospital and primary health care databases;
  • To identify the lack of particular services, such as retinal screening, and facilitate appropriate training for health workers in remote health clinics of need.

Progress to date:

  • Documented the history of eye health services in the Kimberley region;
  • Evaluated eye health services in the Kimberley and analysed diabetic retinal screening activities between 2004-2010;
  • Trained AHWs and nurses in how to operate a digital retinal camera and restored retinal screening programs across the Kimberley as part of chronic disease care;
  • Further developed eye data record-keeping in a centralised database (MMEx) for Kimberley Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services;
  • Facilitated the forthcoming appointment of a regional eye coordinator and trainer for the region who will support and coordinate eye health services, provide ongoing training in retinal photography and help to report on retinal screening coverage;
  • Provided plain language reports of the study findings to all health services included in the study. We are currently writing up the findings for publication in a peer reviewed journal.


  • Dr May Sian Oh
  • Dr Carmel Nelson
  • Assoc Prof Julia Marley
  • Assoc Prof David Atkinson
  • Sue Metcalf
  • Philomena Lewis
  • Margie O’Neill
  • Dr Angus Turner
  • Dr Emma Griffiths
  • Dr Carole Reeve
  • Assoc Prof Richard Murray


Plain language report for staff (1.65 MB .pdf)

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