Orthoptists, opticians… ophthalmologists deplore “confusion” on these notions

Orthoptists, opticians... ophthalmologists deplore "confusion" on these notions

“There is a lot of confusion” about this notion of ophthalmology practices, “on online appointment platforms, search engines” or among certain orthoptists and opticians. Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Ophthalmology doctors are asking for clarification of the notion of “ophthalmology practice”, which they believe is misused by practices or health centers where ophthalmologists rarely, if ever, set foot.

"There is a lot of confusion" on this notion of ophthalmology practices, "on online appointment platforms, search engines" or with certain orthoptists and opticians, declared Thursday the president of the national union of ophthalmologists of France (Snof), Vincent Dedes.

For greater clarity, the professional union suggests reserving the name "ophthalmology practice" at a site where an ophthalmologist (specialist doctor) is present at least twice a week, or at least 40% of the practice's opening time, added Dr. Dedes during a conference of press.

The organization of private ophthalmology has evolved significantly in recent years, in an attempt to overcome the lack of specialists – which led to long delays in obtaining an appointment.

Orthoptists and opticians obtained the right to make certain prescription renewals, and orthoptists the right to carry out certain screenings or prescriptions.

84.7% of ophthalmologists now use the support of these professionals (including medical assistants and nurses), according to Snof.

Reduced wait time

This "assisted work" has made it possible to reduce waiting times for a simple appointment by 70% in seven years, with a median time currently between 21 and 26 days according to studies cited by the professional union.

But the development of "assisted labor" has led to abuses, such as centers which rarely receive visits from an ophthalmologist. Consultations are carried out by other professionals, without the patient knowing who they are dealing with.

Patients must always request an invoice for the procedures from which they have benefited, even if with third-party payment they pay nothing, recalled Vincent Dedes.

"Before making an appointment, they should also ask 'if I have a concern revealed during the visit, is it that an ophthalmologist will be able to see me in the week?'", advises the president of Snof.

"Almost" around fifty centers that have appeared in recent years have been &quot ;either defunded by Health Insurance, or closed" for their illicit practices, he said.

Et "on online dating platforms", he figures the number of orthoptic centers which pass themselves off as ophthalmology practices. That's "roughly the same number for opticians" who say they do ophthalmology.

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