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Ramunas Rolius, Ingrid U Scott, Daniel Brill, Zachary Landis; Practice patterns among eye care providers at US-based teaching hospitals with respect to educating patients regarding risks of smoking and providing smoking cessation counselling. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):128.
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Smoking is a risk factor for several ocular diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataract. However, little is known about practice patterns among eye care providers with respect to educating patients regarding risks of smoking and providing smoking cessation counselling. Our study was designed to investigate such practice patterns among eye care providers at US-based teaching hospitals.
An anonymous survey including multiple choice and Likert-style questions was created on www.surveymonkey.com. An email containing an explanation of the study, an invitation to participate, and the survey link was sent to the coordinator of each ophthalmology residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the program coordinators were asked to forward the email to all ophthalmologists, optometrists, ophthalmology residents and fellows in the program. Weekly reminders were emailed for 4 consecutive weeks.
To date, 15 program coordinators confirmed distribution of the survey to 469 eye care providers; 103 completed surveys were received. Ophthalmologists, optometrists, ophthalmology residents and fellows contributed 38%, 11%, 43% and 8% of responses, respectively. Overall, 37% of respondents reported they always ask their patients about smoking status, 37% advise patients who smoke to quit smoking, 32% always educate their patients about ocular diseases associated with smoking, and 20% always educate patients about systemic risks associated with smoking. Fewer than half of the respondents (46%) reported having received adequate training in smoking cessation counselling during residency/fellowship.
Survey results collected to date indicate that a minority of eye care providers at US-based teaching hospitals consistently ask their patients about smoking status, educate patients about ocular and systemic risks associated with smoking, and advise patients who smoke to stop smoking. This suggests that interventions designed to encourage eye care providers to educate patients about the risks of smoking and advise patients to stop smoking may have a substantial impact on patients’ general and ocular health.
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