Early in the 1970s, Hollows worked with the Gurindji people at Wave Hill in the Northern Territory and then with the people around Bourke and other isolated New South Wales towns, stations and Aboriginal communities. He became especially concerned with the high number of Aborigines who had eye disorders, particularly trachoma. In July 1971, with Mum (Shirl) Smith and others, he set up the Aboriginal Medical Service in suburban Redfern in Sydney, and subsequently assisted in the establishment of medical services for Aboriginal People throughout Australia.
He is responsible for organising the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists to establish the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program (the “Trachoma Program”) 1976–1978, with funding by the Federal Government. Hollows himself spent three years visiting Aboriginal communities to provide eye care and carry out a survey of eye defects. More than 460 Aboriginal communities were visited, and 62,000 Aboriginal People were examined, leading to 27,000 being treated for trachoma and 1,000 operations being carried out.