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Getting glasses or contact lenses

Getting glasses or contact lenses

by Sarita RAO 6 min. 13.07.2022 From our online archive
Getting an eye test and buying glasses or contact lenses in Luxembourg, and how much the CNS will reimburse you
Only certain conditions qualify for full reimbursement from the CNS
Only certain conditions qualify for full reimbursement from the CNS
Photo credit: Shutterstock

If you find you or your children are squinting or need to sit closer or further away from a screen, book or board to read or see the picture clearly you or they may need an eye test. 

You may also need one in conjunction with other medical conditions which affect your eyes and eyesight directly or indirectly. In the latter case, your doctor or specialist can advise you.

Luxembourg has ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians, who can all give you an eye test (this is true of some opticians but not all). 

What’s the difference?

An ophthalmologist is a medical or osteopathic doctor who specialises in eye and vision. They usually complete several years of training and are licensed to practice advanced medicine and surgery, which means they can treat a wider range of conditions to optometrists and opticians.

This means that in addition to testing your eyesight, they can diagnose health problems that aren’t directly related to the eye such as diabetes and refer you to a relevant medical specialist. They can also conduct laser eye surgery. Some ophthalmologists specialise in areas such as Glaucoma, Retina and Cornea, Neurology and oculo-plastic surgery.

You can search for an ophthalmologist in Luxembourg here.

An optometrist is a healthcare professional who provides primary vision care from eyesight tests, correction and diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes. They primarily perform eye and vision tests and can detect eye abnormalities and prescribe medications for certain eye diseases.

You can search for an optometrist in Luxembourg here

Opticians are trained to design, verify and fit frames and lenses and contact lenses or other devices designed to correct your vision. They use prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. In many opticians stores in Luxembourg you can get your eyes tested and buy a pair of glasses. Diagnosis will however be done by an in-house ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Most municipalities and communes have an optician and you can also search for your local optician on this list.

What does the CNS cover?

What you need to submit

You must pay for your eye test and this will be reimbursed. Once you get your glasses you must submit the original bill, a paid and receipted invoice, which should include your 13 digit national identification number. The original prescription from your eye test should also be submitted, particularly if you want reimbursement for tinted lenses or for glasses for a child under 14 years of age. A prescription is not required for replacement of damaged lenses within the first six months of the first purchase.

For the first reimbursement claim, a certificate of banking details or relevé d’identité bancaire (RIB) must be enclosed.

What’s covered for glasses?

You are free to choose frames of your choice (although all opticians must provide at least four men’s and four women’s frames that will be covered fully by your health insurance, which is to an amount of €30, but these may be functional rather than stylish. Otherwise  you will get the same amount back on the frames.  

The glass lenses are reimbursed at a tariff agreed between the CNS and the professional association of opticians, and may be a standard  €30 per lens. Depending on the condition of your eyesight, you may qualify for more for each lens. 

Treatments like anti-UV or screen-friendly tints are not covered. However if you must have tinted glasses due to chronic conjunctivitis, keratitis, iritis, some forms of cataract, glaucoma, ciliary neuralgia, secondary photophobia, albinism or blindness then the CNS will cover this.

If you have an ametropia greater than or equal to 6,00 dioptre in one or both eyes the CNS will cover you for two glasses with high refractive index (that is made to be thinner and lighter).

The CNS covers two progressive glasses if a person has plus 2.50 dioptre in at least one eye .

How often can I get new glasses?

The CNS covers an eye test and new glasses every three years, unless you have a dioptre change greater than or equal to plus/minus 0.50 (this includes if one eye changes plus 0.25 and the other changes minus 0.25, but not a 0.25 change in the same direction for both eyes).

For children under the age of 14 years the CNS covers glasses without any renewal period. Following your child’s 14th birthday the first pair of glasses (with or without medical prescription) becomes the starting point for the first renewal period of three years as with adults. The renewal period starts from the date of the last coverage by the CNS and not the date of purchase.

What is covered for contact lenses?

To get reimbursed for contact lenses your invoice must be submitted with the original prescription. You will get fixed coverage similar to that of glasses. So for example €30 as would be the case for frames, and an amount corresponding to the price of the glass lenses (which would have been covered if you had chosen glasses).

Several invoices for successive deliveries of contact lenses can be submitted but they must be done at one time, in order to be reimbursed the total fixed amount. In other words, if your reimbursement is worth €90, you can accumulate a few bills for contact lenses to reach that amount and then submit them in one go to the CNS.

Contact lenses will be fully reimbursed if you have the following pathologies: 

  • ametropia greater than or equal to 6 diopters,
  • irregular astigmatism under the condition that the improvement of the visual acuity attains at least 20% compared with ordinary glasses,
  • keratoconus,
  • unilateral and bilateral aphakia,
  • aniseikonia,
  • anisometropia higher than 3 diopters,
  • fixation nystagmus,
  • anisocoria,
  • corneal dystrophy,
  • evolutive myopia,
  • corneal or scleral trauma.

In the case of the following issues, an authorization by the CNS medical board is required:

  • facial or cranial trauma making the usage of contact lenses painful
  • cutaneous hypersensitivity making the use of contact lenses impossible (allergy to the material).

To get full reimbursement you must attach your invoice or bill for contact lenses to the medical prescription which indicates the pathology you have from the list above.

You will receive reimbursement against a tariff agreed between the CNS and the professional association of opticians and optometrist.

The CNS also allows a trial period for contact lenses in which they can be fitted and the impact on your eyes assessed. You can have up to four trials within the first 12 months of delivery of the contact lenses. If you develop an intolerance in the front section of your eyes within 30 days of the first trial, you can have a further two trial sessions withing two months of the first one. If after this, the contact lenses simply don’t work for you,  you can only bill for three trial sessions.

When can I get new contact lenses?

The renewal period for contact lenses is the same as for glasses – 3 years, with the same exceptions in a change to your eyesight or the development of a specific medical condition.

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