The shoe or should that be boot is well and truly on the other foot this week. It turns out that high street optician Boots have been misleading customers with some of their most sought after lenses.
They may well cost a bob or two but it has been revealed that this optician has been overselling some of their most expensive lenses. Boots has claimed that their own brand Boots Protect Plus Blue Lenses have so called gadget glare protection.
In today’s fast paced society, smartphones are a genuine extension of ourselves. From setting alarms for that all important meeting to watching the latest content, we are absolutely hooked on these gizmos. Yet, they can be hazardous to the user thanks to the blue violet rays of light which radiate from mobile devices.
This can lead to a number of different issues in the future when it comes to your eyes. However, Boots have passed off the notion that their own lenses offer protection against these harmful lights.
So what are the so called reasons behind this? It seems according to the opticians themselves that Boots Protect Plus Blue Lenses provide a unique finish on the top. As a result, this directly eradicates all those nasty blue light filters. At present, the latter is a real cause for concern as too much exposure to blue light rays can lead to serious matters such as eye strain.
They say it aims to alleviate these particular problems with their lenses. Yet, Boots have been called out for over exaggerating the benefits of gadget glare. Whether you call this a booty call or not, it has also incorrectly stated how effective their blue lenses are. Another big no-no for the retailer who have been established for well over one hundred and fifty years.
And the price of these magic lenses? Boots have been attempting to convince good old Joe public to part with £70 in order to purchase them. A fair whack you might think but this is a tiny drop in the ocean compared to the slick and expensive ad campaign they have ran recently.
In it, the opticians suggest that their Boots Protect Plus Blue lenses had the ability to protect you from those blue-violet nasties. These are most commonly found not only on smartphones but tablets and even TVs.
In spite of the “special finish” Boots attributed to this particular product, the powers that be have come down heavy. In recent weeks, an investigation has been conducted by the ASA. Most commonly known as the Advertising Standards Authority, the ASA have expressed several key aspects in their report. (Read here.)
In summary, they have proclaimed that Boots actually went too far in terms of the blue-violet ray benefits as well as how efficient the lenses actually are. In addition to this, the ad carried by Boots is another hammer blow. According to their slogan campaign from January 2015, they said;
“Have you seen the (blue) light? Did you know that some blue light, from smartphone screens to sunshine, can affect your eyes? Luckily Boots Opticians can help. Did you know that there are lots of factors in your daily life that could be affecting your – and your family’s – eyes? Many modern gadgets, whether it’s a fancy LED TV or your smartphone, as well as sunlight and energy-saving light bulbs, give off a certain kind of blue light that can cause your retinal cells to deteriorate over time. Boots Opticians can help you protect your eyes from harmful blue light, reducing damage to retinal cells. For £70, new Boots Protect Plus Blue lenses come with a special finish that filters out the harmful blue light and eases eye strain and fatigue”.
The hot water that Boots have landed themselves in may be simmering over as a brand is all about reputation not to mention credibility. Furthermore, the enquiry which was made on behalf of the ASA discovered more findings.
This featured the potentially hazardous levels of blue light which are emitted from a host of gadgets were in fact far less when compared to natural sunlight. You might think that this is a one off but the report drilled down into the exposure aspect.
It stated that the lenses which are produced by Boots only gave a 20 percent reduction. Therefore, it might falsely lead consumers down the wrong path. The belief here is that many customers would believe their Protect Plus Blue Lenses had a profound effect on reducing how likely their eyes would deteriorate.
On top of this, the Advertising Standards Authority found unwanted claims around retinal cell damage. It was said that their lenses may be able to reduce any damage to cells in the retina. This may be seen as an aid in fighting against eyesight when customers are older including AMD or age-related macular degeneration.
The ASA’s panel of experts add that some of these particular conditions were down to a variety of factors such as diet and family history. These key factors were supposedly much more harmful than blue-violet rays.
In summary, the ASA found that Boots required sufficient evidence which categorically proved individuals exposed to blue light via gadgets had a detrimental effect on their vision. On the other hand, Boots put their own case forward with a report packed full of expert evidence.
Taken from several mediums including a wealth of trade publications and even a European Commission review, they were certainly going all out. Naturally they were arguing in favour of blue-violet light having a negative effect on vision and eye fatigue.
Nevertheless, the Advertising Standard Authority might as well have given them the boot as this was thrown out due to insufficient evidence. This was largely in part down to a weak connection between retinal damage and the effect blue light have on vision over a period of time. Consequently, the ASA has pulled no punches.
They have requested the high street optician to cease misleading the public with immediate effect. No pulling the wool over our eyes there then.