Essilor-owned website eyebuydirect.co.uk is selling prescription spectacles for children under the age of 16, flouting regulation within the Opticians Act regarding the sale of optical appliances.

Optician was able to purchase a pair of children’s Rx spectacles from the site with no age-related warnings or restrictions before or after completion of the transaction.

A Kids branded frame was selected at random and a single vision distance prescription was entered before selecting 1.5 index AR-coated lenses. Pupillary distance was left at the site’s default of 63. The purchase was made using a Visa debit card, which can be used online by children aged 11 and over. The spectacles, which cost £21.94, arrived from Germany in a little under two weeks.

Statutory regulation within section 27 of the Opticians Act 1989 restricts the dispensing of prescription spectacles in children under 16 and patients who are registered as blind or partially sighted. Sales of spectacles to persons in these cases can only be made by or under the supervision of a registered practitioner.

In the site’s terms of use, the following was stated: ‘We do not sell or ship any items ordered through this website directly to anyone under the age of 13, nor do we collect any personal information from anyone under the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13, you should use this website only with the supervision of a parent or guardian and should not submit any personal information. Our website is not targeted to children under the age of 13. Children under the age of 13 should not use our website without parental consent.’

Similar glasses were available to children without restriction on lensway.co.uk and framesdirect.com, both of which are owned by Essilor.