Marnie Simpson novelty contact lenses advert is banned

Marnie Simpson Image copyright Getty Images

The advertising watchdog has banned Marnie Simpson from promoting the "unsafe" sale of novelty contacts.

The former Geordie Shore star posted pictures on her Instagram in September and October 2018 promoting her own range of lenses with iSpyEyes.

By law though, contact lenses can only be sold under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner, optometrist or optician.

iSpyEyes argue they haven't broken any laws.

The company claims their lenses are not covered under the Opticians Act 1989 because they aren't designed to correct, remedy or relieve a defect of sight.

But the Advertising Standards Authority points out that the law was amended in 2005 to include all contact lenses, even novelty ones.

"We had not seen any evidence that the lenses were being sold by, or under the personal supervision of, a registered optometrist, registered dispensing optician or registered medical practitioner," the ASA states.

"It was therefore illegal for them to be sold from the website to consumers in the UK."

Marnie Simpson's response, through her solicitors, points to the FAQ section of the iSpyEyes website where it states "… you should visit your optician for a lens fitting prior to purchase as all our lenses are one size".

The Eyecare Trust states that contact lenses sit directly on the surface of the eye, so the risk of infection and causing trauma or injury is high.

They say poorly fitting lenses could all lead to eye infections, corneal ulcers, abrasions and even loss of vision.

While the NHS website warns people not to "wear any contact lenses, including novelty lenses, that haven't been properly fitted to your eyes."

A spokesperson for the reality star has given Newsbeat this response: "Marnie takes the concerns raised seriously and will address the ASA's ruling in the proper way."

It's not the first time she's has been caught out by advertising rules though.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Two images uploaded by Marnie Simpson in June 2017 should have been identified as ads

Back in 2017 she posted pictures on Snapchat of products from Diamond Whites a teeth whitening company and iSpyEyes, without stating they were adverts.

It was found to be a breach of the rules against hidden advertising on social media and was the first case of its kind to have involved Snapchat.

The two companies involved agreed to make sure the hashtag #ad appeared alongside adverts they produce in the future.

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