France looking to Canada’s system as a reference
Wednesday, February 19 2014 | 00 h 00 min | News
A recent report from the French Senate claims that it’s time to clarify the role of optometrists and orthoptists in order to improve access to eye care.
The report (http://www.senat.fr/rap/r13-318/r13-318_mono.html), written by senators Catherine Génisson and Alain Milon, states that eye care in France is characterized by “splintered competencies and an organization that needs to be clarified.” Criticizing a “particularly complex” distribution of eye care competencies among ophthalmologists, orthoptists, optometrists and opticians, the authors point out that an aging population will put additional pressure on the eye care system, at a time when many professionals are retiring.
The two senators were inspired in particular by Canada’s system, in which medical ophthalmology specialists are relatively few in number and highly concentrated on pathological cases and surgery. According to them, the lack of recognition of intermediate professions in France forces ophthalmologists to carry out numerous tasks for which they are overqualified.
The authors suggest a review of the competencies attributed to orthoptists and optometrists, which are presently confined to a “grey area,” and adapting their training to current needs. A profession such as optometry could become an intermediate profession, between opticians and ophthalmologists.