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

MThe less we see, the less we see. People who lose their sight gradually lose their independence and their place in our society. The process of withdrawal or withdrawal from social life is largely related to the physical and psychological impact of visual impairment. It is a double punishment for people who already face the terrible suffering of the total or partial loss of sensation that, by itself, provides nearly 80% of the perception of the world around us.

This mechanism of social isolation and loss of autonomy has unfortunately been amplified with the explosion of the digitization of our daily work. The Valentin Haüy Association recently also confirmed this during an awareness campaign to raise awareness of the specific difficulties posed by the use of digital technology for people with visual impairments.

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Beyond this digital divide, it is the social divide in general that threatens all people whose eyesight has been damaged. In the face of this observation, the public policy established to preserve the autonomy of persons affected by visual impairment lacks ambition. As the Inspectorate General of Social Affairs (IGAS) further emphasized, we note in France, for the entire visual sector, “A virtual absence of strategy at the national and regional levels” and epidemiological data on a large scale “Insufficient”. Nor “National Health Strategy”determined by the Ministry of Health, and no Regional Health Projectsdeveloped by Regional Health Agencies (ARS), does not identify strong areas of intervention dedicated to visual health.

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A situation that will not improve over time

The absence of strong public policy in this area raises questions in a context in which the offer of reception, guidance, medical and social monitoring and care for persons with visual impairments is generally insufficient. This lack of supply is stark in all areas. Thus, in Ile-de-France, only one institution offers a few places in rehabilitation care for people with visual impairments, and therefore waiting lists of more than two years!

This situation is surprising because it is a health problem that affects millions of French people. With regard to visual impairment, approximately two million people are affected. This should not improve in the coming years, quite the contrary. Demographic projections show that with an aging population, visual diseases, often associated with age (AMD, glaucoma), will increase dramatically.

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