Seller of Eyecare Products Settles FTC Charges That Claims
for Protective Coating for Eyeglasses Were Deceptive

FTC News Release
October 26, 1992

Site for Sore Eyes, Inc., a Hayward, CA, company, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it did not have a reasonable basis for asserting that the "UV400" coating it sold for eyeglasses would protect consumers' eyes from "harmful UV rays" emitted by computer terminals. The proposed settlement agreement would bar the company from claiming that any eyeglasses or related products it sells will protect consumers' eyes from radiation from any source, unless it has valid scientific evidence to support such a claim.

Site for Sore Eyes operates a chain of retail stores in California that sell eye-care products and services, including eyeglasses. According to the FTC complaint, which lists the agency's charges against the company, Site for Sore Eyes promoted its UV400 coating on place mats that were displayed at fitting tables in the stores. The place mat included the following statement:

"PROTECTION FROM UV RAYS TREATMENT: UV400
UV protective coating will protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun as well as from computer screens. UV radiation can cause redness and irritation to the eyes — and can also cause irreversible damage to the retina and cornea. This clear, non-toxic formula protects your eyes by absorbing 99% of all harmful UV rays."

Through these statements, the FTC charged, Site for Sore Eyes represented that computer screens emit UV radiation that is harmful to consumers' eyes, and that its coating will protect their eyes from such harmful radiation. According to the FTC complaint, however, the company did not possess a reasonable basis for making this claim.

The proposed consent agreement to settle these charges, announced today for public comment, would require Site for Sore Eyes to have competent and reliable scientific evidence for any future claim that any lens, shade, coating or other material sold in connection with eyeglasses can protect eyes from radiation from any source. "Competent and reliable scientific evidence," under the proposed consent agreement, would mean tests or other research conducted by experts using generally accepted procedures.

The proposed settlement also includes various reporting requirements designed to assist the FTC in monitoring the company's compliance.

The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0. In a separate statement, Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga voiced concern that the Commission's action, in effect, may place "the Commission on record as discounting the potential dangers of UV rays emitted from computer screens without the benefit of a thorough examination of that issue beyond the scope of the investigation in this case," and she expressed interest in comment on that issue.

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This page was posted on August 27, 2006.

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