Lidl forced to remove “illegal specs” costing £3.49 that could result in customers suffering accidents


LIDL have withdrawn off-the-shelf reading glasses that could have resulted in customers suffering serious accidents.

An expert spotted the varifocal glasses for sale and reported Lidl to College of Optometrists, resulting in an investigation being launched.

Retailers are only allowed to sell single lens reading glasses off the shelf and even then they can only be of limited strength.

Lidl had the Varifocal glasses priced at £3.49.

But Simon Jones spotted Lidl were selling £3.49 varifocal glasses which claim to improve vision at three different ranges.

Simon, the editor of Optician Magazine, flagged his discovery on Monday in Lidl’s West Wickham, Kent, store to the college. The General Optical Council then launched an investigation.

Complicated lenses which are not correctly fitted could lead to eye strain and headaches as well as potentially exposing wearers to increased risk of car and other accidents.

Simon tweeted image of the glasses on Tuesday with the caption: “Hi @LidlGB, Not sure these ‘multifocal reading glasses’ can be sold legally in the UK. 

“Reading glasses exempt from the Opticians Act should have two single vision lenses of the same positive spherical power not exceeding four dioptres.”

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, clinical advisor to the College of Optometrists, said: “The concern here is people who buy them and the glasses don’t work properly could lead to a crash.

Retailers are only allowed to sell single lens reading glasses off the shelf and even then they can only be of limited strength.

“Multi, bi and varifocal glasses need fitted correctly by a trained optometrist to work safely and effectively.

“Another concern is when they fit the person perfectly so they may not bother with regular sight tests. This may lead to missing a degenerative eye disease that could have been diagnosed earlier.”

Simon added: “Lidl has shown a level of naivety. As an increasingly successful retailer in the UK, it has a duty to ensure its products are safe and meet British regulations. It’s good that the glasses have been removed from sale so swiftly, but it’s important that the nuances of laws around the sale and supply of optical appliances are adhered to in future.”

A spokesperson for the General Optical Council said: “The GOC is investigating this information in line with our protocol for managing illegal practice complaints.

The glasses clearly state to improve vision at three different distances.

“We take all illegal practice cases seriously and will act on any information provided by the public in line with our protocol.”

A spokeswoman for Lidl said: “We took immediate steps to remove the Auriol Multifocal Reading Glasses from sale in our stores, after being notified that they were not being sold in accordance with British regulations. 

“We have robust procedures in place to ensure that our products comply with required standards and are, therefore, investigating how this item came to be on sale. 

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused and can confirm that customers who wish to return the product will be offered a full refund.”