News Producer Caron Kemp called me on Tuesday, and after discussing my work she asked if I would guest on This Morning on Friday, to talk about laser eye surgery
BUT - then I discovered that Ruth Langsford was host (with Eamonn Holmes), and surgeon Dan Reinstein the other guest!
And as most of you know I’ve publicly criticised both, (deservedly), so couldn’t see either of them wanting to risk sitting next to me for fear of what I might say.
Caron followed up our conversation with this message re Dan Reinstein, 'Thanks Sasha - do you know this man? What are your thoughts? I have to be clear that this is a health item and not a debate so we do need to tread carefully.’
I replied, 'Totally understood Caron - this appearance is too important to me to jeopardise!
Any rules you want to make I will abide by - no names, no personal criticism. I promise I will tread VERY carefully, and stick to talking about the lack of regulation (my priority), the lack of fully informed consent, with very real risks underplayed and often not explained to ppl pre surgery - esp when staff are working on commissions!
My work involves far more than wearing a T shirt and protesting, it is about helping damaged Px and getting the message out to those considering surgery that they should look beyond the glossy advertising, and ’This Morning’ will open the floodgates to show other chat shows that they can invite me on without worrying that I’ll say things I shouldn’t!
Dan Reinstein operated on Philip Schofield and Carol Vorderman, and a number of other celebs. He is a showman and loves media attention - ie free publicity.
He’s one of the very few high profile consultants that I haven’t met in person, but I have no problem sitting next to him, and give you my word that I will not enter debate with him. I will simply state my own experience of laser eye surgery, and convey my message to viewers that they need to look at the real risks, and appreciate that refractive surgery is not something to be done in your lunch hour. It’s a decision that should not be taken as lightly as changing your hairstyle.
A bad haircut will grow out - damaged eyes are for life.'
Early yesterday morning, Suzanne called me for in depth details about my own surgery, and my work… and at the end of a very lengthy call, I agreed that I would talk only about this, and my campaign for regulation, that I wouldn't mention any names (clinics/surgeons). She told me she'd check with the producer that she had all they needed, and would also talk with their lawyers in case there were any more issues to cover, and she'd call me later to arrange the car to collect me on Friday.
So far so good, and at this point I allowed myself to think there was a slim chance this would happen after all.
But at 6.18 pm, a call from David, ‘the producer has decided to go with another case study’!
My response was curt, I hung up on him, and emailed Caron Kemp...
I was called late this afternoon to be told, ‘the producer has gone with another case study’!
Devastated, but not the least bit surprised, as it happens every time.
And for the record, to date, there has been no balanced cover of refractive surgery, only positive advertorials: no serious interviews with damaged patients, and no mention of the many thousands turning to the NHS when their 12 months aftercare with private providers runs out.
After filming a detailed interview for BBC BBC Rip Off Britain in 2017, just before it was broadcast they told me they’d run out of space, so no mention of me or my campaign, while they used two of the weakest case studies I provided to ‘balance’ what was no more than another advertorial, heavily weighted in the industry’s favour.
Since late 2014, Optical Express have paid Luther Pendragon (Crisis management PR) £5,000 per month to discredit me and keep my campaign out of the press/media. But with no mention of OE they had no right of reply, so I hoped This Morning would break the pattern.
I'd very much appreciate the reason I was dropped from the programme, because I am this country’s lay expert on the refractive industry, and no-one knows as much as I do. Which is of course why I’m repeatedly silenced. (And I would not be surprised if Ruth or Reinstein objected to my participation if they were informed in advance).
The sad thing is that I truly had intended to keep to my word and stick to the script, because This Morning would have opened the floodgates for more appearances to advertise my campaign and highlight the dangers of the unregulated refractive surgery industry.
However, as that’s now not going to happen, let me answer the questions you asked yesterday, 'do you know this man? What are your thoughts?'
Ask Reinstein about his own damaged patients, some my clients, about Anneka Rice (her eyes ruined and allegedly paid off to keep quiet) - and importantly, if he claims to support regulation, ask him what he’s done to support my eight years of campaigning? Zilch!
In fact, Reinstein was paid to put his name to the FODO standards, conceived and funded by Optical Express, who refuse to accept the (unenforceable) RCOphth standards. See P26: Expert panel
NB: FODO standards are not recognised by any organisation, incl GMC/RCOphth/CQC/GOC, as all have confirmed to me in writing.
He claims this is a myth, ‘You have to wait until your prescription’s stable’!
It is widely acknowledge by the industry that an unstable prescription is a contraindicator to surgery, while Dan has contradicted his own advertising, 'A fluctuating contact lenses or glasses prescription is an indication that you may not be ready for Laser Eye Surgery.'
So much more I could tell you about this man, known to his peers as the Reinstein Cowboy, with his spurious use of ‘Professor’ highly criticised.
However, I was prepared to avoid all of these issues for the chance to be heard, but yet again I have been silenced, while Reinstein will convince ppl that your 'case study’ is rare (whoever they are), encouraging thousands more to risk their eyesight as he promotes his own cash cow.
I look forward to your response before I publish the details of yet another cancelled TV appearance."
When Caron saw my tweet this morning, she called me almost immediately - having the cheek to ask me how I was, and that she didn’t know what had happened.
But when I asked her to be honest and tell me the reason I'd been dropped, she claimed it wasn’t confirmed that I was appearing, that she had said she'd call me today because she was off work yesterday.
Oh please! I pointed out that her colleague Suzanne had called me yesterday, and what she’d said, that she would be calling back to arrange a car to collect me on Friday. I said a lot more - amazingly managing not to swear - and hung up on her too.
I had to bite my tongue when both Caron and Suzanne told me they needed to make sure it was a balanced piece, because there has been ZERO balance when Reinstein has appeared time and time again, on ITV and BBC, promoting laser eye surgery, with some of the presenters even getting free surgery from him.
I hope as many of you as possible will watch tomorrow, and then send in your complaints to ITV, because I guarantee there'll be no mention of My Beautiful Eyes Campaign for government regulation, or of the countless copy/paste letters from health ministers denying there's a problem, or of the many thousands of people who've come to me for help over the last eight years - and keep on coming - and the increasing cost to the NHS.
It's also a guarantee that Dr Reinstein will make the segment yet another advertorial for laser eye surgery!
Simply a sickening PR exercise, with recent advertorials also claiming laser eye surgery is safer than wearing contact lenses - bullsh*t!
Contact lenses can be taken out, damaged eyes are for life! While CL problems are usually a result of poor hygiene.
And whilst some people have had their eyes taken out as a result of laser eye surgery (google "OERML Can you Go Blind"), there is no technology I know of that has developed an artificial seeing eye - and before someone argues and mentions bionic eyes, these work via the natural eye.
This recent plague of advertorials slating contact lenses suggests that the only available choice of vision correction is laser or contact lenses.
But how about sticking with glasses - the ONLY option for many thousands of us after undergoing laser/lens replacement surgery.
But whilst OE fronts these numerous advertorials, I don't believe they have the money to finance this campaign, so the million dollar question is, which BIG industry player would benefit from increased laser eye surgery sales?
Hey Tweedles! Why don’t you publish the true scale of the problems suffered by your customers after laser and lens exchange surgery at Optical Express, with full disclosure of the numbers of complaints and legal claims - current and settled?
'We all have choices in terms of vision correction, whether that’s to wear glasses more often or get laser eye surgery.'
Bad enough that the Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers Ltd) agreed not to publish any stories mentioning me or My Beautiful Eyes Foundation campaign calling for government regulation, but now they’re giving OE free advertising!
“In response, Optical Express has launched a new program to make their users aware of such environmental issues and offer advice on alternatives to using disposable lenses, such as having eye surgery or wearing glasses more frequently.
'Think of all the plastic that would be saved if the 4.2 million UK contact lens wearers chose to have laser eye surgery,' Mr Hannan commented.
'In the long run, eye surgery is better for the environment, better for your pocket and better for your eyes.'”
Both papers of course owned by Associated News Ltd, who made an agreement with OE not to publish anything that mentioned me, so every time a well intentioned journalist includes a quote from me, I can guarantee it will be edited out before going to press!
NB: I will update this post later when online link to publication is available.
And thank you to Karen Taylor for agreeing to speak to the press.
I've just noticed a BBC News article on breast implant ops including the following comments - 'Women having breast implants should be warned about a condition linked to chronic pain and extreme fatigue, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has said', and also - 'The BBC spoke to one surgeon - who did not wish to be named - who said he did not believe it was a real condition.' I'm not holding my breath for refractive surgeons to call for prospective patients to be warned about the risks of chronic pain nor for the BBC or any other media organisation to report on it even if they did!
I have no complaint whatsoever with the press milking Spice Girls Melanie Brown's recent eye problems, as they've highlighted the fact that she had 'botched laser eye surgery' 20 years ago
"The singer, 43, allegedly arrived at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital and told medical staff that she was 'totally blind' and 'couldn't see anything' after losing vision in her right eye, reports The Sun."
However, a trusted source told me that Mel B did not attend the outpatients emergency clinic at Moorfields Eye Hospital (MEH) on Friday, but had she done so, they would not have referred her to Luton and Dunstable Hospital - approx 1.5hrs drive away - or indeed any other hospital!*
And why would they, when Moorfields is without doubt the best equipped eye hospital in the UK, with facilities to cope with every type of eye problem, staffed by some of the most experienced and renowned eye specialists in the country, if not the world!**
In reply to my email, Moorfields CEO David Probert told me on Monday that he was sure I understood that he was unable to confirm or deny any reports in the weekend's press regarding a patient's care.
Although not important enough for me to investigate further, (and I really couldn't care less where she was or wasn't treated) it was amusing to see other publications regurgitate the Daily Mail story, almost word for word, with just an occasional tweak here and there...
And a quick Google search this evening showed Mel's Instagram post yesterday claiming she was diagnosed with iritis in her right eye, and uveitis in her left, calling the press 'stupid', while some publications reported that she had ocular herpes.
True or false, the amount of publicity Mel B has been given over this incident proves what a priceless asset she would be to My Beautiful Eyes campaign for government regulation - if she would only agree to support us!
* Mel did in fact attend Luton & Dunstable hospital, but of course Moorfields more press worthy! **This doesn't mean that I don't have concerns about Moorfields' modus operandi, because I most certainly do, and will share these with you another time.
Whilst @OERMLuk tweets are quoted in this Daily Express article, you will note that neither Sasha Rodoy nor My Beautiful Eyes Foundation campaign for government regulation are mentioned
'[@OERMLuk tweeted to Jeremy Vine On 5] “Contrary to what you claimed on Friday blended vision DOES 'wear off'! @carolvorders had ops in 2012 that lasted only a few years, repeated last month.”
Carol was quick to issue a reply to these claims, aiming to put the record straight about her experience.
She wrote: “Er no... it has been EIGHT years between original and then a tweak... not a ‘few’ years...
“Please don't put words into my mouth... and I have been VERY happy with it both times.”
The mathematics expert then addressed Jeremy as she reassured the presenter: “Ignore comment below please."'
The Express article didn't include my last tweet to Carol Vorderman - who blocked me after I proved that I was not putting words into her mouth!
'Led to deaths... better regulation... a person's mental and physical health... cost to the NHS...'
Music to my ears if this BBC News report referred to refractive eye surgery!
In comparison with cosmetic procedures there are AT LEAST three times as many refractive eye surgery operations performed each year in the UK - not abroad! - and the numbers of patients left irreparably damaged heavily outweigh those damaged by 'botched cosmetic procedures’
Published in 2013, a huge amount of time and money was invested (wasted) on the Keogh report, with laser eye surgery condescendingly mentioned once or twice (a sop to My Beautiful Eyes campaign calling for government regulation).
This simply angered me, because refractive eye surgery is NOT cosmetic - ever - no matter that blanket marketing suggests it is, and I have had to correct a few ophthalmic surgeons on this point over the years!
'A campaign to tackle "botched" cosmetic procedures is to be launched by the government in England next month. It follows a rise in people seeking surgeries such as a "Brazilian butt lift" abroad, which has led to deaths.
One expert welcomed the campaign [scheduled to launch in May], but said better regulation was also needed.
[England's Department of Health and Social Care] said it also hoped to tackle the number of "botched" procedures, and the resulting impact on a person's mental and physical health, as well as the cost to the NHS of treatment following such procedures.'