The French government has issued new regulations that allow certified optometrists to adapt an eye doctor's prescription to the new conditions of the patient, informing the doctor of the change, and the social security system will reimburse the cost of the corresponding lenses. The optometrist will wear a badge showing his competence in the matter, but no publicity will be given to its role in the matter.

Noting that there is a chronic shortage of ophthalmic doctors in France, representatives of the eyewear industry and trade voiced their approval for the new norms. Greater powers in this regard were also given to optometrists and dispensing opticians in the UK last year under a new Health Act, provided they are commissioned to do so by health authorities at the local level depending on local conditions.

Representing the interests of local optometrists and dispensing opticians, so-called Local Optical Committees (LOCs) have been created throughout the UK, including 92 in England, 13 in Scotland, 4 in Northern Ireland and 3 in Wales. A special committee of the National Optometric Conference has now approved by an overwhelming majority a proposal to set aside 0.5 percent of the fees given by the national health system to reimburse sight tests to fun a new Central Support Unit that will help these LOCs to promote their role in their communities, particularly in view of the ageing population.

The proposal was put forward by the Association of Optometrists, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians.