Boots and Vision Express are misleading customers on the damage done by blue light emitted from electronic devices, according to BBC One’s Watchdog.
In Tuesday night’s programme, undercover reporters visited five stores of each eyewear retailer posing as glasses shoppers.
Six out of 10 of the stores reportedly made health claims that have no concrete evidence behind them.
In the investigation, opticians state that blue light from devices causes eye strain, fatigue, headaches and drowsiness.
One Boots staff member went as far as to say that blue light rays kill retinal cells.
Both Boots and Vision Express followed these claims with offers to purchase protective lenses, especially designed to combat the damage from blue light for £70 and £50 respectively.
Watchdog invited experts to debunk the retailers’ claims that blue light is dangerous – a statement that a year prior to the programme the Advertising Standards Agency had ruled Boots exaggerated along with the effectiveness of its lenses.
Leading light expert John O’Hagan, who published a report on the subject for Public Health England, demonstrated to Watchdog that the light emitted by electronic devices was less than one per cent of the safe level, rendering it completely harmless.
The programme’s presenter Sophie Raworth said: “It is highly worrying to see some dispensing opticians continue to make these unproven health claims in store and I want to make all consumers aware.
“The undercover investigation demonstrates how members of the public could be completely misled and left with the impression that screens are harmful.
“These high street opticians cannot provide sufficient proof of blue light being in any way dangerous to our health.”
A spokesperson from Boots responded: “There is a growing body of clinical evidence to support our position that exposure to some wavelengths of blue light may, over the long term, be harmful to the eye and these impacts are only just beginning to be understood.
“Our Protect Plus Blue Lenses reduce exposure to harmful blue light by up to 20 per cent and should be considered, together with the effects of diet, smoking and family history on future eye health”
Vision Express also put forward a response: “We take the concerns you have raised very seriously, we take vision very seriously and want our customers to take their eye health seriously.
“Our key concern is that people should have regular eye exams, from which our highly trained teams can provide recommendations on product and solutions that are best suited to a customer’s individual needs.”