The France Macula Federation condemns the French government’s draft bill on social security funding 2022
Article 40 of the draft bill on social security funding for 2022 seeks to delegate the prescribing of corrective lenses to orthoptists. The France Macula Federation and the French Retinal Society are concerned about this measure, which could put the visual health of the French people at risk.
A measure that jeopardizes the detection of eye diseases
The French government’s draft bill on social security funding for 2022 includes a proposal of intention to extend the right to prescribe corrective lenses. Orthoptists would be able to prescribe this type of equipment, including in the case of a first prescription. This proposal does, however, stipulate that every patient whose corrected vision is not 10/10 should be referred to an ophthalmologist.
The France Macula Federation and the French Retinal Society have stated their opposition to this decision, which represents a danger for the French people. The representatives of these bodies stress that a number of retinal diseases can be present in patients who display visual acuity of 10/10.
Unlike ophthalmologists, who have completed a full twelve years of training, orthoptists are not trained to detect these types of eye condition.
Early diagnosis essential for the health of patients
In the case of most retinal diseases, early diagnosis is essential for the health of patients and their everyday comfort. By simply consulting an orthoptist, patients might lose precious time in which they could have been undergoing treatment for one of these conditions.
Medical management of neovascular AMD makes it possible to stabilize the patient’s vision in 90% of cases. Early intervention provides the opportunity to better preserve the patient’s visual acuity. This condition is detected in 38,000 new patients each year in France, the majority of whom wouldn’t know they had the disease, had they not consulted an ophthalmologist.
Other eye conditions could also be affected by this draft bill, such as diabetic retinopathy, which is difficult to diagnose, and choroidal melanomas, which are even more rare.
When a patient presents with a decrease in vision, it is impossible for the patient to know whether this is due to their glasses being unsuitable, or the presence of an underlying disease. For this reason, the France Macula Federation and the French Retinal Society are calling for the withdrawal of Article 40.