VIDEO. “A pair of glasses is expensive”, a mobile ophthalmology unit goes to rural areas to meet precarious people

Eliminate “poor seeing” in the world. This is the mission of this mobile truck that criss-crosses France. In Haute-Saône for three days, a hundred people who could not afford to take care of their eyesight were able to meet an ophthalmologist free of charge.

This morning, Aurélien came to consult. This young man meets the traveling ophthalmologist of the mobile unit of an optical giant Essilor – OneSight. “I had not seen an ophthalmologist for about ten years. It’s hard to find an appointment. They don’t take new patients. And then drive 50 km to see an ophthalmologist, it’s not possible for me, no driving license” explains the young man.

Following his examination, he leaves with a prescription for glasses, and the right corrections. In three weeks, he will receive everything. Free.

In Haute-Saône, it is the Haut-Saônoise association for the safeguarding of children to adults (AHSSEA) which brought in this mobile truck, which has been in existence since 2019. It will be able to accommodate 150 to 160 people for three days. “A nearby ophthalmologist is valuable for our people in difficulty for whom it is even more difficult to access care” explains Gilles Valladont, director of the association interviewed by our journalist Lucie Thiery. The people who come to consult have different profiles, asylum seekers, children in child protection, women in difficulty, disabled adults who often give up treatment.

In the small truck and the adjoining room made available that day in the town of Frotey-les-Lure, it’s like being in a city ophthalmologist’s office. “If after examinations, people have no eye problems, they are offered a pair of sunglasses to make them aware of the dangers of the sun. If there is a sight problem, it is the ophthalmologist who will be able to detect possible pathologies such as glaucoma or cataracts” explains Pascale Mutel, coordinator of the visual health mobile unit of the OneSi foundationght. Leaving with glasses is very appreciated by its audiences in difficulty, who thus find a smile. “The people we receive have no access to healthcare, no mutual insurance, complementary insurance, no papers” complete the volunteer.

In France, according to a study by the UFC-Que Choisir association published in November 2022, France suffers from a real health divide with territories where it is too often difficult to find a doctor, a gynecologist, or an ophthalmologist, especially in rural areas. The town of Vesoul, for example, is under-resourced in paediatrics. In Gray, ophthalmologists and gynecologists are sorely lacking. In Luxeuil-les-Bains, if the number of gynecologists is below average, the UFC-Que Choisir study reveals a medical desert for pediatricians and ophthalmologists.

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VIDEO. “A pair of glasses is expensive”, a mobile ophthalmology unit goes to rural areas to meet precarious people

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