By Emily Tait
Shops which sell contact lenses which do not require a prescription may be breaking the law, according to one health agency.
The General Optical Council has said that some cosmetic and coloured contact lenses should only be sold after being prescribed by an eyecare professional, the BBC reported.
In the UK, the Opticians Act restricts the sale of contact lenses which are not sold under supervision and do not offer any vision enhancement benefits, and those who do not observe it face a criminal record and £5,000 fine.
Dr Christine Purslow, senior lecturer at Cardiff University School of Optometry, told the BBC that stores which are therefore continuing to distribute these products face punishment if caught.
"We thought that the legislation had dealt with this issue and closed a loophole that all eyecare professionals recognised was there. I really didn't think this was happening," she explained.
Last week, a court ruling in the US resulted in a supplier of cosmetic contact lenses being banned from selling the products without a prescription.
The Federal Trade Commission, which acts as the US's consumer protection agency, settled with Da Young Kim and Gothic Lens LLC, requiring the company to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 (£31,000) in addition to the ban.
by Martin Burns