Contact lens safety warning

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PEOPLE are being warned about buying cosmetic contact lenses following a complaint to trading standards officials.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s trading standards team is warning people to take care when purchasing cosmetic contact lenses following a complaint from a local optician.

Cosmetic contact lenses can change the colour and appearance of a person’s eyes and have become more popular because of their use by stars like Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson, and in films like the Twilight saga.

UK law states that lenses can only be sold where a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or medical practitioner is on the premises.

But council chiefs say there are retailers selling them in Hartlepool without being qualified.

Beryl Young, the council’s trading standards senior technical officer, said: “Improperly worn contact lenses can cause a loss of oxygen to the front of the eye which in turn can lead to blood vessels growing over the front of the eyes, infections, eyelid changes, allergies, swelling and possibly even blindness.”

The council’s trading standards team will continue to work with the General Optical Council (GOC) to identify the sellers of these products and have the items removed from unauthorised sale.

Samantha Peters, the chief executive and registrar of the GOC, said: “We are working closely with trading standards to tackle illegal sales in Hartlepool and are urging the public to only buy cosmetic contact lenses from a registered optician or doctor.”

The GOC is taking action against unregistered retailers selling the lenses illegally using its power to prosecute under the Opticians Act.

People can report illegal sellers to the GOC by calling (0207) 5803898 and selecting option 2.