BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health has announced that as of 1 July 2012, money spent purchasing eyeglasses and contact lenses for children up to age 18, are once again being reimbursed as part of the Swiss basic medical insurance.
Federal Councillor Alain Berset decided to reintroduce the reimbursement as part of the basic health insurance following expert medical opinion that concluded that correcting a sight defect in childhood is equivalent to treating an eye disease in adults.
The refund will be CHF180 per year, provided that an ophthalmologist prescribes the glasses or contact lenses.
According to the decision, most childhood visual defects should be treated to prevent developing amblyopia or “lazy eye” (the decreased vision in one or both eyes without detectable anatomic damage to the retina or visual pathways), which is usually uncorrectable by eyeglasses or contact lenses in adulthood.
The decision will cover the contact and spectacle lenses if the defect is the result of an “illness” and not the result of an “accident”.
The consumer magazine, Bon à Savoir, says Swiss eyeglass retailer Visilab will continue offering kids glasses for around CHF180 while Fielmann will continue selling organic frames and lenses for about CHF20 (Yes, organic and for CHF20). Berdoz Optic will now offer two pair of glasses for CHF180. Optic 2000 will no longer offer free frames for kids glasses.