BCLA and GOC issue advice on safe contact lens purchase

June 11, 2008 Posted by British Contact Lens Association


BCLA, buying contact lenses, regulation

The British Contact Lens Association and UK regulatory body the General Optical Council have produced a new leaflet to help consumers buy contact lenses safely.
“Buying contact lenses” is an eight-page leaflet which lists common questions and answers about contact lenses. Questions include:
- How do I find out about wearing contact lenses?
- Can I ask for a copy of my contact lens details?
- Do I need a specification in order to buy contact lenses?
- How often should I have a contact lens check-up?
- What should I do if I have a problem with my lenses?
- Will I save money by buying contact lenses via the internet?
The leaflet points out that only registered optometrists, dispensing opticians with a specialist qualification (contact lens opticians) and medical practitioners can fit contact lenses in the , and outlines the legal situation on contact lens sale and supply.
It also describes the BCLA’s position on contact lens sales, which stresses the importance of regular check-ups and that wearers should not change their prescribed lens type, wearing schedule, replacement frequency, solutions or care procedures without the recommendation of their eye care practitioner.
Outgoing BCLA President Nick Atkins said the aim was to encourage safe practice among consumers buying contact lenses and ensure they did not put the health and comfort of their eyes at risk.
”The BCLA has put this leaflet together, with the GOC, to support practitioners by helping patients understand the key considerations about where and how they buy their contact lenses. This is an excellent initiative, started by my predecessor Chris Kerr . It’s a great example of a project that fulfills our mission of providing information as well as education for the ultimate benefit of the public.”
GOC Registrar Peter Coe added: “We want to make sure that the public are able to make well-informed consumer choices and look after their eyesight. This leaflet should help practitioners to talk to contact lens wearers about their options for buying lenses, what the law says, and how they can keep their eyes healthy by having proper fittings and aftercare.”
The leaflet was launched at the recent BCLA Clinical Conference, where there was a roundtable discussion of the risks to patients from the general sales of contact lenses (May 30). A copy of the leaflet will be sent to BCLA members and extra copies will be available on request. It will also be used for a consumer awareness campaign on “Safe contacts” which is planned for this summer.
For more information on the BCLA and how to join, visit www.bcla.org.uk, email vfreeman@bcla.co.uk or call +44 (0)207 580 6661.

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