'Misleading' Boots eye advert banned

Man in bed using phone Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Smartphones are a source of "blue light"

An advert for Boots Opticians has been banned for "misleading" claims that blue light, emitted from smartphones and other gadgets, damages eyesight.

The Advertising Standards Authority said there was insufficient evidence to prove a direct link between blue light and retinal damage.

It ruled the ad, which promoted blue light filters, "must not appear again in its current form".

Boots said it was disappointed by the decision.

The advert, which ran in newspapers in January 2015, said: "Did you know that some blue light, from smartphone screens to sunshine, can affect your eyes?"

It went on to say smartphones, LED TVs and light bulbs were a source of blue light that "cause your retinal cells to deteriorate over time".

And in promoting the Boots Protect Plus Blue lenses, it said they "come with a special finish that filters out the harmful blue light and eases eye strain and fatigue".

However, a pharmacist and one other person said it was incorrect to argue that blue light from such sources damaged the eyes, and questioned whether the lenses offered protection.

The Advertising Standards Authority considered evidence submitted by Boots.

In its judgement the ASA said: "Because the evidence was not sufficient to establish a direct link between harmful blue light and retinal damage over time, we concluded that the claims were misleading and had not been substantiated."

A Boots spokeswoman said: "As a health-led Optician we are at the forefront of developing new solutions for our customers, including blue light filtering technology."

She said "We are disappointed that the ASA did not accept the clinical evidence we provided" and that Boots would provide further evidence that their lenses were effective.

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