SPECIAL REPORT / A move by French opticians to gain greater professional recognition and to bolster a pan-European optometry examination system reflect wider calls for impaired sight to be given more emphasis by policymakers.

Currently, optometry education and licencing vary throughout Europe. For example, in Germany, optometric tasks are performed by ophthalmologists and professionally trained and certified opticians.

Unlike opticians, ophthalmologists hold medical degrees.

In France, there is no regulatory framework and optometrists are sometimes trained by completing an apprenticeship at an ophthalmologists’ private office.

The union representing French opticians, l’Union Des Opticiens, this month reaffirmed its intent to see optometrists given formal recognition in France, calling for a regulation to establish the profession of “optician-optometrist”. (Full Story)