Hundreds of opticians from across Morocco protested outside Parliament in Rabat yesterday against a controversial legal provision which, if passed, will limit their scope of work.
Rabat – The current draft form of Article 6 of Law 45-13 states that the role of opticians is to “deliver[…] to the public optical products that are designed to correct or protect sight,” and “adapt[…] and adjust[…] optical products.”
The Moroccan National Syndicate of Opticians (SPNOM) has rejected the new law, stating in a press release that the new legal provision severely limits the work of opticians, removing “all of [the profession’s] attributes that are recognized on an international scale.”
Until now, opticians in Morocco have performed vision tests, also called refraction tests, to test the eyesight of their clients before prescribing glasses. Under the new law, only ophthalmologists will be allowed to perform these types of tests.
This means client wishing to test their vision would first have to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to obtain a referral for appropriate optical products.
SPNOM stated that the new law would “open doors to organizations that want to monopolize the sector,” and described the proposal as “a plot against the purchasing power of Moroccan citizens.”
Hundreds of opticians marched in the streets of Rabat yesterday, the fourth protest in three weeks.
Ophthalmologists and opticians have been at war on the matter since February.
Ophthalmologists claim opticians should not have the right to perform vision tests. Ophthalmologists argue that refraction is a medical procedure, which therefore falls in their field of expertise, in accordance with law 131-13 on medical practice.
Opticians argue that they have been practicing refraction tests under a King’s decree from 1954, and have the appropriate training to do so.
The current draft of the law will significantly impact on opticians’ businesses.
Another strike and protest are scheduled for July 10.