Sunday, 4 February 2024, 08:03
Spain will soon start financing glasses and contact lenses so that they are free for those who need them. This announcement was made by the minister of Health, Mónica García, in a congressional committee. Her promise is that within this legislature, glasses and contact lenses will be free for certain groups, as they will be financed by the Social Security system.
The idea is to set up a mechanism similar to that for dental care, which "will also be extended", according to García. The details still have to be developed and will be communicated within the Health Commission.
The aim is to incorporate "optical health" into the common portfolio of social security benefits, something that is common in some European Union countries, such as France and Germany. France even has a plan to renew glasses free of charge every two years at a price limited by the state and valid for everyone over the age of 16.
In Germany, glasses and contact lenses are free for children under 18 and also for adults who have a visual impairment that is qualified as "severe". In the UK there are vouchers to pay for these items for children and students and also for citizens on low incomes.
In Spain, 70% of the population wears glasses or contact lenses, according to data from the White Paper on Vision, so this measure could affect a maximum of 30 million people depending on which model the government chooses for this funding. Furthermore, one in three teenagers is short-sighted and their vision is worsening year by year, according to a recent report by Visión y Vida, Mapfre and Correos, based on thousands of specific questionnaires and ophthalmological examinations of children between the ages of 12 and 18.
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