There is an urgent need to invest in visual health to preserve the autonomy of the elderly.

Today, 57% of French people say they are worried about their visual health (2). At a time when the aging of our society is now an undeniable demographic reality, this phenomenon should urgently ask us about our policy of caring for the quality of life of our elderly and, more broadly, about the care we give to well-being. aging in our society.

Quality of vision for the benefit of quality of life

The eye is the most powerful sense organ. However, vision health is too rarely seen as a means to improve the quality of life of older people. Moreover, almost 40% of them indicate that they are poorly corrected (3) (mean age 84.3 years), which seriously impedes their daily life: movement, participation in cultural events, communication with others … Because loss of visual ability, in addition to discomfort, is the risk of isolation, psychological stress, falls and, ultimately, before falling into addiction.

The organization of care and education in the visual sector is still not optimal.

The nature of eye defects and diseases has evolved under the twin effects of population aging and changes in lifestyle. Today, our health care system is unable to provide a proper vision health prevention policy: it suffers from many screening deficiencies. While patients are paying the price of a policy that has favored a predominantly curative approach for too long. At the same time, territorial inequality in access to medical care and medical merit is growing strongly. Thus, 10 million people live more than 20 minutes away from their nearest ophthalmologist (4), and it is estimated that it takes an average of 49 days to make an appointment (5).

The medical offer is not sufficiently accessible and not adapted for elderly patients, especially since the latter, due to negligence, ignorance or fear of a diagnosis, often delay the consultation of an ophthalmologist. Fascination behind the complexity and consistency of visual health problems.

An interdisciplinary response to optimize our vision health approach

Faced with this troubling situation, and at a time when the future “old age” law and the implementation of the fifth branch of “social dependence” are being charted, it is necessary to go beyond just general observations on our problems of medical desertification and delays in accessing ophthalmologists to propose specific interdisciplinary solutions to improve vision health care for the elderly. It is in this context that “Vision d’avance” was created, a think tank that brings together leading experts in the field of vision, aging, care, as well as older people who are interested in sparking public debate with “pragmatic” and “innovative” ideas. . It offers 4 areas of research:

  • Better assess the vision health needs of older people because recent research shows that age-related visual impairment and eye pathologies are neither inevitable nor universal.
  • Develop and improve a culture of prevention to reduce the modifiable risks of exacerbating ocular pathologies.
  • Improve access to eye care and specialists in all areas of the territory by rethinking the offer of medical deserts.
  • Bet on digital health to facilitate multidisciplinary teamwork

These four areas should enable better control of the needs of the elderly population in terms of health and better organization, which will allow us to integrate innovation into our strategies. This should allow us to address the problems of increasing life expectancy, the development of chronic diseases, social inequality and territorial inequality.

Looking at innovation and the digital environment as new therapeutic and diagnostic options, we may see the deployment of digital support, telemedicine, and the use of intelligence (AI) in ophthalmology. To bring visual health care closer to patients, it is important to be able to combine proximity and related skills.

“Know, prevent, educate, connect people” should be the keywords of our approach so that visual health is finally better integrated into our public health policy.

(one) Press kit on the government’s plan to combat falls, announced on February 21, 2022, University Hospital of Toulouse and Gerontopol.
(2) IPSOS Study for SNOF February 2022
(3) ALIENOR study, October 2016
(four) National Agency for Territorial Cohesion. Observatory of the Territories 2022
(5) SNOF Study on Waiting Time in 2020 (May 28, 2021)

_______

* Perspective vision:

  • Sylvain Bouton, Managing Director of Théa Pharma France
  • Gauthier Busquet, Orthopedist at the Robert Debré Hospital
  • Monique Cambier, Old’Up Association, Fellow of the Vision Institute of the Silversight Department
  • Marie-Claire Network, Old’Up Association, Facilitator of Workshops on Physician-Patient Relationships
  • Eduard Gasser, CEO of Tilak HealthCare
  • Mathieu Gerber, founder and president of Les Opticiens mobiles
  • Jean-Francois Korobelnik, Professor of Ophthalmology, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital of Bordeaux
  • Jean-Luc Novella, Professor of Geriatrics, President of Gérontopole Champagne-Ardenne
  • François Pelain, ophthalmologist, co-founder of Point Vision
  • Serge Reznikoff, professor of ophthalmology, former senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Jean-Francois Tripodi, former Managing Director of Carte Blanche Partners