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GOC statement on Adlens adjustable focus spectacles

11 May 2017

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We do not, on the basis of the information currently available, consider that there is sufficient evidence of risk of harm to the public, or a wider public interest, in prosecuting unsupervised sellers of a specific Adlens product within the adjustment range 0 to +4 dioptres. We are therefore treating this product as benefitting from the ready reader exemption* in the Opticians Act. However we reserve the right to prosecute unsupervised sellers of any products within this range in the future if evidence of risk of harm or public interest emerges, in line with our powers and protocols.

The Opticians Act does not explicitly authorise the unsupervised supply of the specific Adlens product within the adjustment range 0 to +4 dioptres and there are features of the product that do not fall within the terms of the Act’s exemption for ‘ready readers’. There has not been any recent change in the law.

We explained our position to Adlens in January 2017 and that remains unchanged.

We note that some stakeholders have called for legislative change to permit the unsupervised sale of all adjustable focus spectacles. Such a change in the law would be a matter for the Government not the GOC. Our view is that, before considering a change to the law, the Government should consult openly and carry out a regulatory impact assessment in order to identify the full range of likely impacts and avoid unintended consequences.
 

* ‘Ready readers’ are those spectacles which have two single vision lenses of the same positive spherical power not exceeding four dioptres.  By way of clarification, the GOC considers that adjustable focus spectacles do not contain lenses “of the same positive spherical power”, even if they are adjusted to the same focus at the time of sale, as the point of adjustable focus lenses is that their focus can be subsequently adjusted by the user.

 

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