top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

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

Glasses or spectacles on display in a French opticians

Glasses prescription must be issued by correct professional to ensure reimbursement Pic: Poliakphoto/Shutterstock

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.

Find help with navigating life in France with our new Reader Questions newsletter

Sign up for our pick of the week's questions from readers answered by The Connexion team – delivered to your inbox every Saturday.

See what other readers like you are asking including: How often is a rabies shot for dogs required for France-UK travel? ​​Can foreign residents benefit from France's pension top-up benefit? and more. 

Sign up for the free newsletter

Related articles

Dentistry, glasses: How to benefit from France’s 100% Santé scheme

Complementary health insurance in France: what it is and how it works

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now