LONDON—Boots Opticians, a leading British optical retail chain, has been fined £40,000 for making misleading claims about its blue light-filtering lenses. The fine was imposed by the General Optical Council
(GOC) on May 25, a health and social care regulatory organization in the U.K., following a hearing it conducted.
The hearing, which was closely followed by optical retailers and lens suppliers in the U.K. and the U.S., involved advertisements in The Times newspaper in January, 2015 for Boots Protect Plus Blue Lenses. According to a summary of the hearing
released by the GOC, it took action against Boots following complaints about the ads received by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The complaints challenged two claims made by Boots: that the blue light from LED TV’s, smartphones, sunlight and energy-saving light bulbs cause damage to retinal cells over time; that Boots Protect Plus Blue lenses protect against blue light from these sources. The Advertising Standards Authority agreed that both claims were “misleading and not substantiated,” according to the GOC.
The GOC determined in its ruling that Boots “failed to obtain sufficient evidence” to justify its claim that “there is a direct link between harmful blue light and retinal damage over time,” and that “Boots Protect Plus Blue Lenses filtered out a meaningful amount of harmful blue light.”
To determine the amount of Boots’ fine, the GOC said it recognized that “full admissions were made by Boots Opticians at the onset of the hearing, regret was expressed, some remedial steps had been taken to address the failings and there was no risk of clinical harm to patients.”