SCMP Monday, July 23, 2001


Consumer watchdog fields six complaints in two years

MICHELLE CHAK and PATSY MOY

The Consumer Council has received six complaints about Ortho-K lenses in the past two years.
Three cases involved girls with eye damage and the others were disputes over money and services.
The council refused to say how many optometrists were involved or who they were.
In all six cases, the complainants said the optometrists failed to explain the risks involved in using Ortho-K lenses.
Instead, they used questionable scientific claims to persuade parents that the products were safe and effective, the council's head of research, Connie Lau Yin-hing, said.
She said optometrists required clients to sign an agreement with an escape clause to free them of liability in case of injury.
Ms Lau said the council would not take action at the moment but said it was planning a new study on the lenses.
Last month the mainland's Consumer Association warned people thinking of using the corrective lenses to be cautious about misleading statements in advertisements and unfair contracts that made it difficult to sue the suppliers.
The association said the effects of Ortho-K lenses were "temporary, limited and reversible".
It has also reported cases in which clients who suffered eye injuries were accused by the manufacturers of using the lenses improperly.
About 20,000 people on the mainland use the corrective lenses, according to the association.