From ophthalmology to optometry: towards a delegation of care?

Optometrists in France are asking the government to check their eyesight in order to relieve ophthalmologists' waiting rooms. But what is optometry?

The profession of optometrists called on the government on Monday to demand the right to check the eyes of the French. "It seems urgent to reform the organization of the visual sector," said in a statement Yannick Dyant, president of the Association of optometrists of France. "The waiting time to get an appointment with an ophthalmologist is simply breathtaking".

A little-known profession, optometry requires Bac +5 training and usually leads to an optician-lunetier position. It allows to study the vision and to take the measure of its anomalies. The World Council of Optometry, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO), defines optometry as "an autonomous, trained and regulated health profession." Optometrists are health professionals of the eye and the visual system that provide complete eye and visual service, which includes refraction and the provision of optical equipment, the detection / diagnosis and monitoring of eye diseases and the rehabilitation of the visual system ". Even if he is optician and is attached to the Code of Commerce, the optometrist is also attached to the Health Code as are pharmacists.

Towards a delegation of care?

"Our fight remains complicated while when Emmanuel Macron was Minister of the Economy, it provided a regulation of optometry", explains to AFP Yannick Dyant referring to the bill "for the activity and equality of The law currently states that an optometrist is free to change an order of less than 5 years. That is, he is entitled to modify the correction. But the profession requires the delegation of care, monopoly of ophthalmologists. Because if the law provides that the latter can delegate to optometrists the renewals of glasses and lenses of people aged 6 to 50 years in good health, it remains the only one to issue orders and waiting times are endless. Sometimes estimated at one year in the most deprived areas.

But for its part, the National Union of Ophthalmologists of France (SNOF) seems reluctant to delegate more. "Anglo-Saxon optometry is not an option in the French health system and can not be a valid and sustainable solution to waiting time problems," says SNOF, fearing the absence of an Order in the profession and the "opportunity to advertise, prohibited for the medical professions".

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