The College of Optometrists urges frontline workers to follow optometrists’ advice and only use contact lenses when they have been safely fitted, and can be supplied to the correct prescription and specification.
Earlier this week, an online contact lens supplier offered to give away thousands of disposable contact lenses to NHS and key workers. This resulted in considerable press attention and publicity for the supplier in question.
The College of Optometrists is concerned about the safety of this marketing tactic. This promotion may result in contact lenses being supplied without the normal eye health and safety checks, which are in place to ensure that contact lenses provide clear and comfortable vision and do not cause harm.
Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser at The College of Optometrists, says: “The eye health of NHS and other key workers is of absolute importance. This promotion appears to disregard the safety of people who are working incredibly hard to protect and care for us at this time. Contact lenses must be fitted and supplied according to the legal regulations that are in place to protect wearers from harm. Incorrectly fitted contact lenses can potentially cause serious harm or sight loss.
“If you need contact lenses and you are a key worker, you should contact your local optometrist or opticians, who have adapted their services to offer remote consultations, while still meeting the required standard. They are still available via phone to help, and can ensure a safe supply of contact lenses or glasses.”
In the UK, contact lenses must be fitted by a registered professional, and the sale of the contact lenses must be overseen by a registered professional, to ensure safe use. The public may not be aware that some online contact suppliers who advertise in the UK are registered overseas, and as such do not necessarily follow the UK laws, which are designed to protect wearers from harm.