Opticians & Eye Doctors in France

Information about finding an eye doctor and where to get a prescription for glasses or contact lenses in France.

If you need an eye test in France, you will need to visit an eye doctor or ophthalmologist (ophtalmologue). In general, people don’t visit an optician  in France for an eye test, and the cost of glasses or contact lenses are only covered if there is a prescription from an eye doctor.

You don’t need a referral from a GP to see an eye doctor in France. It’s fairly easy to find an ophthalmologist if you live near a big city or town in France, search the yellow pages for Ophtalmologue. In some rural areas, however, they are far and few between, which means that in certain regions, the wait to see an eye doctor can be as long as six months or even longer.

Glasses are reimbursed, but only at a fraction of the actual cost. If you or your children need glasses in France it is highly advisable to have a top-up insurance to cover some of the costs. For example you will be reimbursed 60% of the basic tariff (tarif de base) for the frames and the glasses themselves, but this amount is so low that glasses can work out extremely costly.

Contact lenses are only reimbursed in certain cases, for example for astigmatism or if you are very short-sighted. The maximum annual amount that you will be reimbursed is just under 40 euros, whatever the type of contact lens that you use.

You can check the amounts that are reimbursed by the health insurance fund via the links below.  

Laser eye treatments in France are not reimbursed at all. However, certain top-up insurances (mutuelles) do pay a certain amount towards this operation, check your mutuelle provider.

In the event of an emergency, and you need to see an eye doctor at the weekend or on a public holiday you will have to go to your nearest hospital.

Detailed information about the different roles eye doctors, opticians and orthoptists have (in French)