A study of Canadian optometrists has highlighted the potential usefulness of community optometrists in smoking cessation programmes.
Six hundred optometrists in Quebec were asked about their practice, perception and training. It was found that 73 per cent asked if their patients smoked, and 65 per cent felt they should advise patients about the risks and suggest they stop smoking, though only 16 per cent admitted to doing this.
However, only 8 per cent had any knowledge of anti-smoking services and resources.
The researchers concluded that optometrists were usefully placed to offer anti-smoking advice but needed better understanding of the available support resources.
Most UK optometrists are taught to ask patients about smoking during undergraduate training and this study adds to evidence of a need to involve them in anti-smoking programmes.