GOC welcomes ASA ruling on iSpyEyes

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today welcomed the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) ruling that iSpyEyes should remove adverts incorrectly implying that they could legally supply zero-powered (cosmetic) contacts lenses to the UK without the involvement of a registered optician.

The GOC helped the ASA in investigating the case and the ASA ruling states that they, "Told iSpyEyes and Marnie Simpson not to encourage an unsafe practice or to imply that they could legally sell zero powered contact lenses in the UK." Read the full ASA ruling.

By law, zero-powered contact lenses can only be sold in the UK by or under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner, a registered optometrist or a registered dispensing optician. Although the website in question was based in the British Virgin Islands, the ASA considered that the adverts were directed at UK customers.

Dionne Spence, GOC Director of Casework and Resolutions, said:

"Cosmetic contact lenses can be popular for fashion and fancy dress, particularly at times such as Halloween. However customers who buy and wear them without getting professional advice are risking damage to their eyes.

"We are glad that the ASA have taken action against these adverts. We helped them on the case and we are currently exploring further ways of working with the ASA to help tackle illegal online sales. It is vital that we work with partner organisations in respect of illegal sales and we also continue to work with Trading Standards and the optical professional bodies."

For advice on how to buy contact lenses safely, including zero-powered lenses, consumers can visit the Love Your Lenses website.


Notes to editors:

  1. The relevant legislation is part 27 of the Opticians Act 1989
  2. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent advertising regulator. They administrate the non-broadcast Advertising Code and the broadcast Advertising Code. In 2011 their remit was further extended to include claims made by companies on their own websites and in social media spaces under their control. Find out more about the ASA.

For further information please contact:

Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7307 3478 – option 3

e: communications@optical.org 

About the General Optical Council

The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.