Ophtalmologiste

I’ve been to the doctor three times already in France (four if you count the visite medicale required for the carte de séjour), but today was my first appointment at an eye doctor. Not only did I finally learn the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optician – I always just say eye doctor in English – I also managed to not forget the alphabet or numbers. I tend to forget the simplest things in French when I get nervous.

My appointment was with a nice young man at the Clinique Générale (which is like a maze when you aren’t sure where you should go), and the appointment took less than 20 minutes. First I looked at a road with a hot-air balloon at the end, and then it was on to the boring letters and numbers. Bright light so he could inspect my retinas and that was it. No annoying puff of air or that bizarre stain to dilate your pupils. I handed over my Carte Vitale, paid 48 € and got two ordonnances, for new glasses and new contacts.

Now I need to go to an optician to choose my frames and turn in my prescriptions. Ophtalmologistes (what I used to call eye doctors) and opticiens are not in the same office in France. The person who checks your eyes and the person who makes your glasses are two different people and professions. I never really paid attention to that before in the US. Actually, I don’t know if I ever even met my optician there…

P.S. Net is clear, and flou is blurry.

  • Astrid

    In any other country I’ve been to the eye doctor and the optician are one and the same, which saves a lot of time. I think the french like to hold on to their burocratic traditions = making everything as complicated as possible :)

  • Astrid

    In any other country I’ve been to the eye doctor and the optician are one and the same, which saves a lot of time. I think the french like to hold on to their burocratic traditions = making everything as complicated as possible :)

  • The Franco Fille

    In the US, most of us see opticians I believe because it’s cheaper for the health insurance company to pay an optician versus an opthamologist. I prefer going to an opthomologist. Nothing against the profession of opticians, but opthamologists are medical doctors who are trained to consider the whole picture whereas opticians focus on the eyes. I guess, it doesn’t matter if you have healthy eyes. But for those of us with eye “issues” it’s better to see the MD.

  • The Franco Fille

    In the US, most of us see opticians I believe because it’s cheaper for the health insurance company to pay an optician versus an opthamologist. I prefer going to an opthomologist. Nothing against the profession of opticians, but opthamologists are medical doctors who are trained to consider the whole picture whereas opticians focus on the eyes. I guess, it doesn’t matter if you have healthy eyes. But for those of us with eye “issues” it’s better to see the MD.