Pat's Story

I decided to look into laser eye surgery when glasses were becoming increasingly expensive and I'd seen the Optical Express TV ads offering 20/20 vision for an amazing low cost of £395 per eye! Wearing glasses since I was 12 years old I was eager to lose them forever!!!

25 August 2008
I went along to OE Oxford Branch for a consultation, had a lot of tests and a chat with a 'sales assistant' who said I was suitable for surgery, but I needed Lasik Wavefront with intralase costing £2,940 - far more than their advertised £395! 

They insisted I pay a deposit that day and set up finance to cover the balance.

23 September 2008
OE called to asked me to return for repeat tests as they had 'lost' the original readings.

26 September 2008
Laser surgery performed by Mr Rodney Blumenfeld whom I met for the very first time shortly before the operation.

Everything had a very rushed conveyor belt feel to it, with patients moving in and out very quickly. I was very nervous but I trusted OE and believed all they had told me, that I "would be fine... it's a painless procedure... will be able to see so much better immediately after surgery".

I felt a lot of pressure on my eyes during the procedure and the smell of my cornea being burned was sickening.  Afterwards Mr Blumenfeld did a very quick check and I was sent home with lots of eye drops.

I attended all my follow up appointments but soon realised I could not see as well as I should be, and it was decided I needed an "enhancement" on both eyes but would have to wait for the healing to complete.

3 August 2009
Lasek on both eyes by Dr Joanna McGraw.  I could feel her rubbing away at my eyes and the pressure again was unpleasant but I thought this was normal.                                                     

NB: ETHANOL AND MMC USED IN BOTH EYES DURING OP BUT NO MENTION IN CONSENT FORM!

More drops, quickly checked by Joanna and sent home - but this time I was in unbearable pain and phoned the OE emergency number.  No answer!

I used the drops as instructed, suffered the pain and again attended all my follow up appointments.

11 August 2009
The pain was so bad I went to see Optical Express optometrist Chris Gascoigne who told me I had a tear on my left cornea and had a bandage lens put in to help with the pain I was suffering.

Throughout all my visits to OE I kept telling Chris Gascoigne that I was seeing lots of floaters but he said it was normal, then I started getting flashes of light in my left eye whenever I moved my head.

5 December 2009
I woke up with a massive amount of floaters and bubbles so phoned OE. Chris Gascoigne told me to go to hospital immediately as I could have a retinal detachment. 

I was seen at the Oxford John Radcliffe and they said it was the vitreous gel pulling on the retina but no tear or detachment was discovered at this stage.

19 February 2010
Appt with Dr Joanna McGraw who did usual tests and suggested possibility of further surgery on left eye at a later date. Shocked, I informed her that I was advised by the John Radcliffe Hospital never to have laser surgery again on my eyes!

Not seen again until...

16 August 2010
Fed up with all the floaters and poor vision I saw Chris Gascoigne who found a retinal tear.

He mentioned that at my last appointment Joanna had noted a retinal tear in my left eye and should go back to the hospital and was shocked that I hadn't done so.

I have every reason to believe my records have been altered as Joanna McGraw is a liar because if she'd told me this I'd have raced to the hospital immediately!  

Chris Gascoigne sent me straight to the John Radcliffe Hospital where I had laser treatment to try and seal the tear - unbearably painful! Like having hot needles stabbed in your eye.

20 August 2010
I attended John Radcliffe Hospital where I underwent the freezing treatment Cryopexy.

I was so scared!  I had an anaesthetic injection to numb my eye but during the treatment I almost jumped off the table in so much pain that they had to top up the anaesthetic.

Seen in outpatients they were pleased that the tear had sealed, but I still had massive amounts of floaters badly affecting my vision which I put up with until January 2011 where I was seen by Mr Paul Rosen at the JR Hospital who decided I needed a Vitrectomy peel to clear the debris out of my eye.

1 March 2011
Vitrectomy under general anaesthetic, worried and scared I prayed this would be an end to it all.  Operation went well and I was sent home.

10 August 2011
I noticed a dark area appearing in my left eye so 'phoned the JR and was told to go straight in it where it was discovered I had a retinal detachment and underwent urgent emergency surgery to save my sight!!

Waiting around for a theatre to become available I was finally taken down to theatre late evening where I was given a massive dose of anaesthetic injected straight into my eye to numb it. I was in a lot of pain and so upset but the surgeon was brilliant and did all he could to save my sight.

Returning home I was seen at the clinic next day when I could not see anything out of my left eye.  Terrified, I was assured that my sight would slowly return over the next few weeks, which thankfully it did.

I was also told I would now get a rapidly growing cataract - which I did.

As you can imagine by this time I was traumatised, depressed and angry! I had lost my job due to absence and my GP prescribed anti depressants and because I informed them I was taking legal advice Stephen Hannan referred me to Professor Jan Ventor @ the OE Harley Street Complex Cases Clinic.

15 August 2011
My husband and I travelled to London where Professor Jan Venter told me I had a "Nuclear Cataract" growing.

Professor Venter and Stephen Hannan tried to fob me off with statistics about my age and a "very high prescription of myopia" being the cause of the retinal detachment, that in no way were they to blame as the retina is at the back of the eye and they only operated on the front!

At no time did they mention that the pressure and suctions from the machines used on our eyes can cause RETINAL DETACHMENT!!!

They were uninterested in the trauma I'd suffered which, according to them, was not their fault.

After writing to OE asking for a full refund and glasses supplied for life - the very least they could do as a goodwill gesture, all I got was a cheap pair of glasses to tide me over until after the cataract op, which I only used a couple of times as they were useless as my sight rapidly deteriorated.

21 November 2012
I had the cataract op

14 December 2012
Attended John Radcliffe Hospital where we discovered operation was unsuccessful as the lens has not settled as hoped, with my vision still blurry.

I was advised to get glasses from OE and have YAG surgery if wanted, but this can cause retinal detachment so I'm not prepared to risk it happening again.

I explained this to Stephen Hannan who having first offered £100 then agreed OE would contribute £300 towards a pair of glasses as a goodwill gesture, BUT I have to sign forms agreeing to this.

I heard nothing more from him.

January 2013
I called to see where the forms were and was told they been sent on 15 December, but they'd resend and next day they arrived via TNT (signed for)

I read them through and could not believe what they were saying so 'phoned David Mungall and told him no way was I signing.

He made an appointment for me to go to the Reading clinic for assessment.

15 January 2013
I saw Chris Gascoigne at Reading (Oxford is now closed) who agreed I need glasses for all tasks (driving reading, TV) but told me I had good mono vision!!!!

I still have problems with pain in my left eye, very tender to touch eyelid, bright lights, starbursts, dry eye and a weird flickering effect  which occurs in bright light that I can only describe as a kaleidoscope twirling around! 

Chris told me I have "optical migraines" and nothing to do with my eyes!

1 February 2013
Having ignored my calls and emails Stephen Hannan finally contacted me asking me what I wanted to do and where did we go from here?

I told him I would not sign the forms in return for £300 so he then offered me a £500 gift voucher - but stressed that this was their final offer and I had to sign the forms before I could have the voucher.

I told him I would talk to my family first and he said he'd phone this week for my decision.

Instead, I searched for help on Google and thankfully found this website!

I contacted Sasha Rodoy at My Beautiful Eyes and whilst Optical Express continue to deny any fault, with Sasha's help, I will not let let them get away with what they've done to my eyes and life!

I will update with any new developments.