Some helpful information plucked from Connexion, to which I have a subscription but in case the OP doesn’t
Different eye specialists in France: A quick definition
- Ophthalmologist - A fully-qualified medical doctor that specialises in eyes. Usually works at a hospital and can treat eye conditions, injury, and eye conditions. Can prescribe and do surgery.
- Orthoptist - Works closely with ophthalmologists. Highly qualified. Investigates issues with vision, and conditions such as double vision, cataracts, squint, or glaucoma.
- Optometrist - Also known as an ophthalmic optician. Not a fully-qualified doctor, but highly qualified at examining the eyes. Can diagnose sight problems like myopia.
- Optician - A dispensing optician helps you choose frames. A manufacturing optician makes lenses fit the frames in a factory. An ophthalmic optician (also called an optometrist) can test eyes for simple conditions, like short-sightedness.
_ From February 1 , 2023, patients aged 16 to 42 can consult an orthoptist for a first prescription for corrective lenses. Provided for by the Social Security financing law for 2022, this measure takes effect more than a year after its promulgation according to a decree published in the Official Journal of January 31, 2023._
As members above confirm, an opthalmologist prescription is needed for reimbursement by the mutuelle insurance. There are also quite a few restrictions over who can change glasses prescriptions
Is an ophthalmologist’s prescription vital for glasses reimbursement?
There is a difference between opticians, orthoptists and ophthalmologists in France - we explain how this affects your mutuelle reimbursement.
7 March 2022
By Liv Rowland
Usually, an optician cannot prescribe glasses for you, and a prescription is necessary for reimbursement by Assurance Maladie and your mutuelle.
An ophthalmologist can issue a prescription, you do not need to obtain a new one each time you buy glasses. For example, it is not necessary for people over 16 if you are buying glasses which have the same level of correction as before, and the prescription is still valid (five years for age 16-42, three for those over 42).
It is also possible for an optician to do an eye test and to modify your prescription if the prescription is valid and the ophthalmologist has not explicitly forbidden this.
There is an exception in the case of a test showing a problem of near-sightedness which has not previously been diagnosed by an ophthalmologist. In this case, the patient needs to obtain a new prescription.
Support for appointments backlog
As of this year, another profession, orthoptists, will be able to issue prescriptions for glasses, to help with the problem of access to ophthalmologists in some parts of France. These eye experts are considered a ‘medical auxiliary’ profession, whereas ophthalmologists are eye doctors.
A decree is still awaited clarifying the rules, but it is likely that it will not be available for older people or young children, and probably only for those with moderate levels of correction.
It is also intended that orthoptists will not be able to modify a prescription that is still in its validity period, but will only issue new prescriptions. Opticians will also not be able to adapt an orthoptist’s prescription unless the person has had an eye examination by an ophthalmologist.
Hope that helps make things a bit clearer!