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Zero powered contact lens warning issued by Wales Heads of Trading Standards

Image representing Zero powered contact lens warning issued by Wales Heads of Trading Standards

31st October 2018

Image of a Halloween contact lensFollowing reported serious eye injuries from the use of zero powered contact lenses, the public are being warned against wearing Halloween zero powered contact lenses.

In 2016 Trading Standards officers prosecuted two Cardiff businesses that were selling zero powered contact lenses. The prosecutions came about as a result of a complaint from a member of the public who had purchased the product for a Halloween party and contracted a serious eye infection that required hospital treatment. In 2017 Shared Regulatory Services carried out a further survey, which indicated that these products were still being offered for sale and causing serious eye injuries. 

Legally, contact lenses should only be sold under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner, a registered optometrist or a registered dispensing optician who is on the premises to supervise the sale.

This year, Trading Standards Officers from across Wales conducted a coordinated survey organised by the Welsh Heads of Trading Standards. Eighteen Local Authorities across Wales participated in the survey and seventy-seven stores were identified as selling zero powered contact lenses. These stores were notified in advance not to sell the product unless a registered medical practitioner, a registered optometrist or a registered dispensing optician was on the premises to supervise the sale. Guidance was also provided in the form of a General Optical Council leaflet. 

Seventy-one test purchases were then conducted in those stores. Four of them made sales, which were not supervised as they should have been.  In those cases, Trading Standards Officers issued safety notices under the General Product (Safety) Regulations 2005 prohibiting the unsupervised sale of the product.

A spokesperson from Wales Heads of Trading Standards said: "In order to prevent the potential for serious injury, consumers are advised to purchase zero powered Halloween contact lenses only from a registered medical practitioner, a registered optometrist or a registered dispensing optician (who must be on the premises to supervise the sale).

"The results of this survey will be shared with colleagues across the UK. It is encouraging that so many stores have adhered to the advice provided and kept members of the public in Wales safe from potential harm. Premises in Wales will continue to be monitored and any non-compliances could result in enforcement action being taken."

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