"The absence of a strong public policy in the field of visual health raises questions"


Mthe less we see, the less we are seen. People who lose their sight also gradually lose their autonomy and their place in our society. This process of withdrawal or withdrawal from social life is largely linked to the physical and psychological impact of visual impairment. It is a double penalty for people who are already confronted with the terrible anguish of the total or partial loss of a sense which, on its own, provides nearly 80% of the perception of the world around us.

This mechanism of social isolation and loss of autonomy has unfortunately amplified with the explosion of digitization of our everyday acts. The Valentin Haüy association has also recently underlined this during an awareness campaign to raise awareness of the specific difficulties posed by the use of digital technology for people with visual disabilities.

Read also The number of visually impaired people could have tripled by 2050

Beyond this digital divide, it is more generally a social divide that threatens all people whose sight is damaged. Faced with this observation, the public policy outlined to maintain and develop the autonomy of people affected by visual impairment lacks ambition. As the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS) has further underlined, we note in France, for the whole of the visual sector, "a virtual absence of strategy at the national and regional level" and epidemiological data widely "insufficient". Nor the “national health strategy”defined by the Ministry of Health, nor the “regional health projects”drawn up by the regional health agencies (ARS), do not identify strong areas of intervention devoted to visual health.

A situation that will not improve over time

The absence of a strong public policy in this area raises questions in a context where the offer of reception, orientation, medical and medico-social monitoring and care for people with visual impairments is generally very insufficient. . This lack of supply is glaring in all regions. Thus, in Ile-de-France, only one institution offers a few places in rehabilitation care for people with visual disabilities, with consequently waiting lists of more than two years!

This situation is all the more surprising since it is a health issue that affects millions of French people. As far as visual impairment is concerned, nearly two million people are affected. This should not improve in the years to come, quite the contrary. Demographic projections show that, with the aging of the population, visual pathologies, often correlated with age (AMD, glaucoma), will increase very significantly.

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