Eye test in France

Hi,apologies if this has been covered before,but can anyone tell me what the correct procedure is for having an eye test in France please.I have not had to have one until now and have been told several different routes to go down,some say you need to see an eye specialist first to get a prescription and then go to the opticians and others say you can now go straight to some opticians but it will cost you a lot more,thanks for any info.

I would recommend seeing an opthalmologist first
get a recommendation (better) or find one near you using Google. Here in Ile-de-France you have to wait months for an appointment, there seems to be a real shortage, not sure why
hope it’s easier where you live. I have never tried the optician route, though I believe they can prescribe lenses in certain simple cases.

Find an ophtalmologiste (yellow pages or personal recommendation) and get an appointment, probably in several months’ time.

I would say it depends what you want, and how your eye health is. If all you want is a routine check of your prescription and maybe a pair of new glasses then just go to optician (they might ask you to get a prescription from your GP).

If you ask for 100% santé glasses you will be shown a simple range that cost very little. But if you yearn for Dior the small print on your mutuelle, or the contents of your piggy bank.

However any eye concerns, or over around 40 or so, then get an ophthalmologist appointment first. Many things if caught early become a non-issue.

The rules for 100% sante glasses are exactly the same for hearing aids.
In order to get the 100% you definitely need a doctor’s prescription.
Have just been through the process for hearing aids and the 1900 euro cost has been fully covered by carte Vitale and mutuelle.
After 4 years you are eligible for replacement with all costs covered again.
Used the shop Ecoutervoir who were excellent and are very knowledgeable of the 100% sante.

Sorry I can’t seem to make a link work but this should help

So if I want to claim for glasses on CV & Mutuelle I have to go to doctor, then opthalmogist?

I tried 2 weeks ago to get glasses from Lunettes Pour Tout in Bordeaux but they explained I would need to get prescription from opthalmogist if I wanted to get any of the money back.

Since then I have got 0.95€ reading glasses from Action - they are an absolute revelation - I can read again!

An alternative to Yellow Pages, etc, is to use one of the medical booking internet portals like https://www.doctolib.fr/
Put Ophtalmologue in the first box and your postcode in the second and it will find appointments (you can filter the results in various ways in fact) - but the big advantage is that you can choose to be informed if new, sooner appointments become available (presumably because others have cancelled, etc) - so if you are flexible you can get a quick appointment.

I believe you can buy the 100% santĂ© glasses straight out. Can’t precisely remember but OH got these last time and I don’t recall him visiting doctor or ophtalamo. But perhaps was within 2 years of last visit.

OH and myself went to an ophtalmologiste with no doctors prescription and then got 100% sante glasses with no issues.


There are generally 2 options here:

(a) the usual route : make an appointment with an ophthalmologist - there can be a wait of up to about 6 months to get an appointment, unless you feel you are losing your sight very quickly, in which case you can sometimes get a referral from your GP to go the nearest hospital ophthalmology unit;

(b) if you have an existing prescription which is less than 3 years old - it can even be a UK one which has been converted into a French prescription by your French GP - then you can go to an optician and they will carry out a top-up check (similar to the basic eye check in the UK) to see whether your prescription matches your current requirements.


The reason is that there are too few ophthalmologists in private practice, much like other medical specialists, due in large part to the medical consultants’ own corporatist approach to preventing other commercial operations from moving in and occupying what the consultants deem to be their reserved hunting ground (numerus clausus in qualifying examinations being one such failed policy).

It really is a stupid, self-defeating policy IMHO. Fortunately, things are ever so slowly on the move, but pockets of resistance to change can be high in certain areas.

Yes this doesn’t surprise me.

Cash Investigation did a report on the problem recently; Elise Lucet’s interview with Jean-Paul Hamon of the FĂ©dĂ©ration des MĂ©decins de France was particularly cringeworthy as he clearly had nothing to say to justify the situation (other than, “just pay us more and the problem will go away on it’s own”). Pathetic really.

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No need for doctor - you can get your prescription from the ophthalmo. I just did this a couple of weeks ago myself. If you’re looking for an ophtalmo near Bordeaux that won’t make you wait months, then these are great:

My partner broke her glasses recently and our local glasses shop recommended them to us. They had appointments available for the following week, so I booked one for both of us. Some friends were so impressed that they booked at the same time too.

Really can’t fault them, and there’s even parking literally next door.

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You soon won’t need an ophto exam if you save ‘simple’ vision impairments. So, I think if you just need reading glasses like myself, you will be able to just go to the optician. This is coming in 2022.

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Once you get the prescription from your doctor for hearing aids can you then choose where you go for them? Vanity is getting in the way of sorting my hearing at the moment :see_no_evil:

Thanks hairbear,the sooner that opticians are able to do eye tests the better,save all this waiting, which is unnecessary.

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There have been different opinions posted whether a doctors prescription is needed or not so I can only speak from my personal experience.
Firstly I get it re the vanity, realistically I have needed hearing aids for a few years but vanity and the cost not to mention the idea of having a large ugly amplifier behind each ear has stopped me till now. I even succumbed 3 years ago and went to a hearing aid provider following a hearing test. 3900 euros told me not to bother!
With the new 100% sante that was the financial barrier removed.
My doctor recommended Ecoutervoir so I arranged a RDV. It was they who said I would need an ordinance from my doctor.
My doctor quickly scribbled a few words on his headed paper and that along with presenting my carte Vitale and mutuelle details started the ball rolling.
Ecoutervoir tested my hearing and showed me 3 types of hearing aid.
The ones I have really are almost invisible and my hearing WOW!
I have just completed a month free trial and this week returned to sign on the dotted line and pay the 1900 euros.
I knew all the cost would be covered but expected to have to pay out first and then be refunded within a few days in the usual way.
Imagine my surprise when I was told that Ecoutervoir would be paid directly by my carte Vitale and mutuelle, Result.
My advice is go for it and open up a world of sound I had forgotten existed.


I would say you can go to any shop but make sure you specify that you want to qualify for 100% sante.
It will say that on the devi.

Thank you. I was going to go my nearest Ecoutervoir as they are linked to my mutuelle. I may just pop in and see what they say regarding an ordinance. You have made me feel more positive about doing it. I can usually work out was is being said in English but struggle catching clearly what his being said by someone in French so I ask them to repeat what they said and they then think I can’t understand them which is not quite the case! Hopefully getting my hearing sorted will stop some comic situations where I have misheard what someone has said
which is normally my poor husband.