ECOO Guidelines for optometric and optical services in Europe
The European Council of Optometry and Optics (ECOO) has developed Guidelines for optometric and optical services in Europe to establish consistent guidance on the quality of service provision that the public should expect when accessing eye care services.
European legislation increasingly reflects the need to facilitate the movement of healthcare professionals to different countries within Europe. This and other legislation requires a good understanding of what services are delivered within primary eye care.
The Guidelines, to which a number of ECOO representatives from across several countries have contributed, set out the expected quality of eye care service provision in Europe for the general public. It offers a comprehensive overview of the aspects that quality optometric and optical services entail as well as clear explanations to provide guidance to professionals across Europe.
Certain aspects of optometric and optical eye care service delivery may be encompassed by national regulations and existing national standards, and it is recognised that the guidelines may not reflect national legislative requirements in member countries. However, while national regulations will take precedence over any guidance, the guidelines should provide direction regarding the quality of service provision for eye care services. They also complement the World Council of Optometry statement on a global model for optometry.
PRESS RELEASE – ECOO publishes professional Guidelines for optometric and optical services in Europe (pdf)
The importance of new distribution channels (namely the Internet) for contact lenses (CLs) and lens care products (LCPs) increases continuously.
The European Contact Lens Forum (ECLF), which ECOO is a member of, provides this ‘Best Practice’ document as guidance for all those engaged in the selling of contact lenses.
Following and / or implementing these practices will result in good client services being provided to the customers. It also points out the need for professional care when wearing contact lenses.
Comparative health economic study on the delivery of primary eye care in Germany, France and the UK
In 2011, ECOO commissioned a comparative health economic study on the delivery of primary eye care in Germany, France and the UK, led by Professor Wasem of the University of Duisburg-Essen, has been finalised.
The study’s results relating to the health-economy show that:
- a model based entirely on optometrists – such as in the United Kingdom – where optometrists are the primary eye care providers, is just as safe as a model based entirely on ophthalmologists – such as in France – where ophthalmologists are the primary eye care providers.
- in a country such as Germany, where optometrists and ophthalmologists currently share responsibilities, the provision of eye care would have collapsed if optometrists had not already taken on essential tasks in this area. This relates to the fact that currently in Germany around 73% of all visual aid prescriptions and around 67% of all primary care for contact lenses are carried out by optometrists.
- the clinical and academic training of an optometrist is considerably more cost-efficient than that of an ophthalmologist, since costs are up to two thirds lower.
- demographic change owing to an aging population is fundamentally leading to an increase in age-related eye conditions, which must be recognised and treated early; for “age-related macular degeneration (AMD)” alone, the authors of the study suggest an increase in Germany from 875,000 cases in 2007 to 1,769,000 by 2050; this in turn causes a need for more primary eye care providers in the future.
- a country such as France, where ophthalmologists have almost exclusive responsibility in this area, needs to see a clear increase in the number of primary eye care providers in the future owing to demographic changes and a decreasing number of ophthalmologists.
Download the Study (PDF)
Report on Driver Vision Screening in Europe
The report on Driver Vision Screening in Europe highlights substantial variation in the assessment of drivers’ vision across Europe, and recommends that the European Commission should act to harmonise assessment in EU Member States to the standards in the best performing countries.
The EU has committed to halving road death across the EU by 2020. The goal is to achieve this by legislative means that change driver behaviour, raise the technical standards of vehicles and improve road design. The visual requirements to drive safely in the Driving Licence Directive 2009/113/EC are currently being implemented by EU Members States. The report has found this is failing to harmonise assessments of vision.
The report notes a number of European countries continue to rely on an out-dated assessment of vision known as the ‘Licence Plate Test’, which is not consistent with the underlying EU standards. In addition, seven countries have no requirement for on-going assessment of vision for non-professional drivers, while many others only have limited assessment in place.
The Driving Licence Directive has failed to harmonise the assessment of drivers’ vision across the EU and the report recommends that the Commission should revisit the underlying conditions for vision testing in the upcoming review of the Directive.
The report was jointly developed by the European Council of Optometry and Optics (ECOO) and the European Federation of Optical Lenses, Frames and Instrument Manufacturers (EUROM I) and the European Federation of Contact Lens Manufacturers (EUROMCONTACT).
Download the Report on Driver Vision Screening in Europe (June 2011) (PDF)