Celebrate Diversity Month: The Optometrist Series – Emmy Cui, Eye & i Optometrist

To acknowledge Celebrate Diversity Month, Good vision for life has put together a series of stories shining a light on some of the optometrists around Australia who are championing diversity and inclusivity efforts within culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

Enhancing eye health by bridging gaps with culturally and linguistically diverse communities

In the realm of eye health, accessibility and understanding are key pillars that form the foundation of effective care and for Emmy Cui, Principal Optometrist at Eye & i Optometrist, this truth resonates deeply through her work with CALD populations, most notably within the Vietnamese and Chinese communities.

How have you brought cultural enrichment and adaptation into your optometry practice? 

Working within our local Vietnamese and Chinese communities has profoundly enriched my professional journey as an optometrist. By embracing traditional practices, as well as gaining better insight into culturally diverse health perspectives, I've adapted our practice’s communication and treatment approaches to enhance patient care outcomes.  

Through establishing rapport and conversing in patients' native languages, we continue to foster trust and a deeper understanding of eye care requirements, making the experience rewarding on multiple levels. 

What are some of the key challenges you've encountered in delivering accessible eye health information to diverse patient populations and how do you address these challenges? 

Language barriers, cultural disparities and limited health literacy present significant challenges in delivering accessible eye health information. Misunderstandings often arise when information isn't provided in patients' native languages, exacerbating delays or reluctance to adhere to treatments due to cultural differences. Patients with limited health literacy may further struggle to grasp complex eye health concepts.  

Addressing these gaps entails providing educational materials in multiple languages, utilising fluent family members or friends for interpretation and reinforcing recommended management by communicating with the patient's GP, who may speak their native language.

What do you believe are the most important considerations for culturally and linguistically diverse communities when it comes to accessing eye health services in Australia? 

Providing services in their native language, or offering the services of an interpreter, will greatly improve communication and understanding between patient and optometrist. Being aware of individual cultural beliefs and values also supports enhanced delivery of treatment options and offering affordable and easily accessible services can help reduce financial and logistical barriers.

Can you discuss any initiatives or outreach programs you've been involved in to promote eye health awareness within diverse communities? 

To enhance eye health awareness in diverse communities, I have collaborated with Diabetes Victoria to conduct webinars for the Chinese community, addressing eye health care in relation to diabetes alongside dieticians and endocrinologists. Similarly, I partnered with the Vision Initiative to present webinars for the Chinese Health Foundation to promote eye health awareness.  

I’ve also participated in the Glaucoma Community Collaborative Care Program in association with the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital to provide accessible care and reassurance to patients from diverse backgrounds who appreciated speaking with a culturally sensitive optometrist. 

What should members of the CALD community know about accessing the best eye health services/provides for their needs and where can they go for more information? 

Members of CALD communities should be aware of culturally sensitive optometrists who can address language barriers. These providers may offer services in multiple languages or offer interpreters.  

Regular eye examinations are essential for maintaining good eye health and are typically recommended at least once every two years or more frequently as advised by your eye care professional, with many optometry services covered by Medicare bulk-billing.

How to find your closest CALD optometry practice 

You can use our easy Good vision for life search tool here and filter by language spoken to book an appointment today. 

Emmy Cui is a Principal Optometrist at Eye & I Optometrist located at 102 Nicholson Street in the western suburb of Footscray, Victoria. 

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