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New online training to help patients quit smoking

Eye health professionals are being offered access to new resources to help them talk to patients about smoking and offer practical quitting advice.

The training is free for Victorian and South Australian optometrists, and Victorian orthoptists; a $20 registration fee applies for other states and territories.

Smoking cessation organisation Quit, in partnership with the Vision Initiative – a program managed by Vision 2020 Australia – has created the online training course for the eye health sector based on Quit’s three-step model; ask, advise, help.

It follows a joint survey they conducted in June which showed the majority of eye health professionals, including optometrists and orthoptists, are not aware that most patients who smoke would like help to quit. Moreover, most don’t feel confident to provide support.

North-east Victorian optometrist and practice owner Kelly Gibbons talks about the new training in this video, below.


Vision 2020 Australia CEO Ms Judith Abbott said the new training and resources have been specially developed to help optometrists and orthoptists talk to patients and offer practical assistance.

“The training and resources provide eye health professionals with the knowledge and skills required to use Quit’s brief advice model: Ask, Advise, Help to identify patients who smoke and help them access best practice tobacco dependence treatment,” she said.

“It’s a fast, simple and effective way to have a conversation about quitting smoking with patients and is easily integrated into a normal consultation.”

Completion of the training provides 1 CPD point (under the current CPD standard that expires 30 November) for the one-hour online training.

Developed by Vision Initiative, Quit and an industry reference group, the resources encourage pharmacotherapy and multi-session behavioural intervention through Quitline to give people the best chance to stop smoking.

Abbott encouraged all eye health professionals to undertake the training, noting only 5% of Victorian smokers are aware that smoking can lead to eye health conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

The training and resources are available online.

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