The General Optical Council (GOC) has launched a consultation around its proposed voluntary code of practice for online contact lens suppliers.
The regulator states that the draft code of practice, drawn up by representatives from consumer groups, optical representative bodies, education providers, retailers and online suppliers, aims to make it safer for consumers to buy contact lenses online.
The code forms part of the GOC’s strategy for tackling illegal practice, and the consultation will run until 12 October.
At a council meeting in London last week (29 July), it was put forward that online retailers signed up to the code and found to be in breach would no longer be allowed to use the logo.
The GOC’s director of strategy, Alistair Bridge, said: “The draft code of practice will make it much easier for people to buy contact lenses online safely.”
He added: “It emphasises the crucial role of optometrists and contact lens opticians in managing patients’ eye health. When people buy their contact lenses online it’s essential that they still see their eye care practitioner regularly to avoid putting the health of their eyes at risk.”
GOC council member and chair of the steering group on contact lens supply, Rob Hogan, said: “I’ve been really impressed with the way that stakeholders from the optical sector and beyond have come together with such a strong focus on improving public protection.”
Mr Hogan added: “The draft code of practice draws on the independent research commissioned by the GOC to improve public protection and I’m particularly pleased that the code covers the substitution of contact lenses, which can create risks to the public in some circumstances. Substitution is not covered by the law as it stands and this really shows the value of a code of practice that can adapt more easily to sector developments.”