Essilor joins BBC to discuss counterfeit lenses

The lens manufacturer has taken part in a programme investigating the issues of counterfeit sunglasses lenses

Essilor's Andy Hepworth with BBC presenter Lucy Owen

Essilor has contributed to a television investigation into counterfeit sunglasses lenses, highlighting the potential damage that wearing lenses with little or no UV protection can have on eye health.

Professional relations manager for the lens manufacturer, Andy Hepworth, was interviewed for the BBC Wales X-Ray programme, which is scheduled to air on BBC One Wales at the end of the month.

The consumer affairs programme opted to focus on the topic after discovering counterfeit designer sunglasses could be dangerous to consumers.

Visiting Essilor’s Thornbury-based laboratory, the lens manufacturer demonstrated to the X-Ray team how the sunglasses they had purchased could put consumers’ eyes at risk by letting an astonishing 70% of UVA into the eye.

Stressing the importance of buying sunglasses from a reputable opticians on the High Street, Essilor has offered to test any suspect products for opticians.

“It is not easy for the consumer, nor the optician, to know if the lens they are looking at is real and can protect against UV or blue-light damage, and this can be a real concern,” Mr Hepworth said. “In this case, we’re not just talking about being ripped off over a brand, but of damage to our eye health.”

Mr Hepworth added: “It’s scary to think people are being sold lenses that just aren’t up to the job. When X-Ray approached Essilor with its investigation we were more than happy to help highlight the potential dangers of counterfeit lenses. As a company we’ve spent years working to educate consumers about the importance of having built in UV protection – both in sunglasses and clear prescription lenses."