Simon Jones: Colour me bad
Despite the ASA's love-hate relationship with optics, they know when to get involved
Author: Simon Jones
Optics probably has something of a love-hate relationship with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). In one instance it will be taking a Geordie Shore influencer to task over cosmetic contact lenses and in another, pulling up a multiple about overstating the effects of blue light exposure.
Thankfully, the advertising regulator seldom sees the need to get involved in sector goings on, but when it does, the effects are usually long-lasting. So, when a Suffolk-based optometrist turned up in the rulings for misleading claims about dyslexia and tinted lenses, it felt like ‘here we go again’.
The efficacy of coloured lenses and overlays to treat visual stress is a fiercely contested subject. Critics say there is a lack of any evidence to support their effectiveness, but thousands of practices claim to use tints to reduce the impact of Meares-Irlen syndrome on satisfied individuals.
So, is colorimetry going down the path of blue light filtering spectacle lenses? They sold like hotcakes before the ASA ruling against Boots Opticians in 2015. I don’t think we’re at that stage just yet, but practices offering colorimetry or thinking about offering it should probably give their communications a once over and arm themselves with some research.
The practice in question, Fred Templeman and partners, which trades as Templeman Opticians, pushed the envelope of what they could substantiate when it came to dyslexia and tinted lenses. It’s important that other practices don’t make the same mistake and rely on suppliers of equipment for their information and fact-checking. And not letting website developers write important copy.
Thankfully, the practices that I know offer coloured overlays and tinted lenses make the distinction on their websites between visual stress as a cause of dyslexia and visual stress as a symptom of dyslexia.