Is the cost of buying contact lenses reimbursed in France?

The rules for contact lenses and glasses differ

Contact lenses are less covered by health insurance than glasses
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Reader Question: Where is the best place to buy contact lenses in France? I have an ordinance from a French doctor, but wondering if it’s best to go to a shop on the high street or to buy online. Will social security pay for the lenses?

As you mentioned, contact lenses can be purchased both online and in-person at a number of shops in France. 

The cheapest option depends on the type of lenses you need, and there is no clear answer. 

Ask in shops and browse online to see if you can find a good deal, but always make sure you buy from a trusted company if you do purchase online. 

Your doctor or optician who provided you with the prescription may be able to point you towards a good option if you are unsure.

Read more: New way to check if your French top-up health insurance cost is fair

Social security rarely covers lenses

However, note that your contact lenses will probably not be covered by any social security measure. 

Social security only covers contact lenses in the following situations: 

  • Irregular astigmatism

  • Myopia equal to or greater than 8 dioptres (-8 or more)

  • Accommodative strabismus

  • Aphakia

  • Anisometropia of 3 dioptres that cannot be corrected by glasses

  • Keratoconus

If your lenses do fall under one of these categories – your prescription from the doctor will indicate if so – they are reimbursed at 60% of the annual price (up to a certain limit).

The type of contact lenses you use does not matter, but there is a fixed cap of €39.48 per eye. 

Anything more than this and the costs must be covered by yourself, or your top-up insurance (mutuelle). 

Some mutuelle policies offer contact lenses as part of their cover, but not all, so you should make sure this is included in your policy. 

Note that the 100% Santé scheme for glasses, which provides free pairs to people in the French healthcare system with top-up insurance, does not have any provisions for contact lenses.

Read more: What is the easiest way to get new glasses in France?

Read more: How to get a free pair of glasses in France