In 2017, when Optical Express dropped their £21.5 million claim for libel and accepted a Part 36 offer of approx £150k from Associated Newspapers Ltd, a journalist advised me that as part of the settlement (off the record) the Mail would have agreed to stay away from stories directed at OE, and not give me any publicity.
When I repeated this to ANL's lawyers they denied it, but in fact, the paper reneged on their promise; that in return for all the info, documents, and witnesses I'd provided for their legal defence, they would give me a big story about my work and campaign. (And of course I have evidence of this!)
Just coincidence then that this article studiously avoids mentioning me, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and My Beautiful Eyes campaign calling for government regulation of this corrupt industry.
And the Mail have also avoided naming the relevant surgeons and clinics, but I'm not so coy!
Ian Waghorne was operated on by Dr Muhammad Kazmi at Optical Express. Case in point methinks!
Warning to anyone reading this and still considering laser eye surgery - it is NOT cosmetic!
Dr Morris Waxler spoke to the Mail...
"‘Neuropathic pain is still not acknowledged as a complication, but it definitely should be. Instead, consent forms make laser surgery sound like a piece of cake.’
He adds that surgeons don’t follow up patients enough to see the longer-term effects: ‘Most don’t follow up patients for longer than six months. Then there are the patients who are so distraught by the complications they have suffered that they never go back.
‘This is the only industry that creates new eye disease from previously healthy eyes.’
Dr Cynthia J MacKay, MD, a recently retired ophthalmologist from New York, is another outspoken critic.
She told Good Health she’d had her doubts about laser eye surgery from the start: ‘The cornea has more nerve endings than any other part of the body and it was obvious to me that if it was cut, the nerves would not regrow as they were before.
‘Also, the cornea has a poor blood supply so it is slow to heal and scar tissue will form, which will impair vision. Over the years, I saw many patients who had been left with permanent neuropathic pain in their corneas after laser eye surgery. I’ve seen it ruin lives.
‘I know of at least 22 suicides in the U.S. I’ve even known of people have their eyes removed to stop the pain. Cases like these happen because doctors can’t get rid of this type of pain, the nerves regrow and misfire and go crazy.
‘Yes, there are people who are happy with LASIK, but what they don’t realise is that having the procedure has put them at greater risk of retinal detachment and early cataracts,’ she adds. ‘It’s a very big scandal.’
Bruce Allan, of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, is robust in his rebuttal of all this. ‘It is untrue that laser surgery weakens the cornea and one in three surgeons who perform refractive surgery have had it themselves,’ he says.
‘It is also untrue to say refractive surgery raises the risk of retinal detachment — people who are short-sighted are more likely to get retinal detachment anyway and they are likely to have laser eye surgery, so it’s incorrect to conclude that it’s the surgery that raises the risk.’"
"And if things do go wrong, ‘then they can be fixed — we have good solutions,’ says Bruce Allan, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital [and Moorfields Private] in London and a spokesman for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists."
'Good solutions' Bruce?
Then I humbly suggest that you share these with your colleagues at Moorfields Eye Hospital, unable to fix many of the damaged patients referred to their NHS clinics following the devastating results of unnecessary and unregulated laser and lens replacement surgery - me included!
‘The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has published professional standards for refractive surgery...'
'...and it’s very safe in the UK now as these are enforced by the regulator.’
Do tell Bruce, which regulator would that be?
And if so safe, then why do damaged patients continue to contact me day in, day out?
And remind me, who was it you plotted with, via email and cosy weekend phone calls, discussing how to remove me from my position as lay adviser on the The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group?
Let me think... of course, it was David Moulsdale!
'Incestuous' is the only word I know of to best describe this industry in a nutshell (globally)!
NB: The Mail's claim that Ian Waghorne had no legal recourse simply because he signed the consent form is misleading, as every single person currently in litigation signed a consent form, as did Stephanie Holloway, and the many hundreds of others who successfully settled with OE et al.
Even worse than an advertorial - masquerading as journalism from unprincipled Trinity Mirror employee Molly Holt, promoting OE's sickening Thanks A Million campaign...
'The leading eye care specialist has already improved the lives of 44 NHS employees, 39 police officers, 37 paramedics and 4 firefighters to date as part of its Thanks a Million campaign, which launched in July 2017.
Having reached the half way point in its donation pledge, Optical Express is now reaching out once more to emergency service and NHS workers, as it looks for more deserving people to benefit from free treatment.'
No need to contact the author or her employers to ask if the article was classified as news or an advertorial, and if ££ changed hands, because the answer was staring me in the face!
Go to the Mirror page, click on hyperlink  and you will read,
'What are affiliate schemes?
Affiliate schemes enable online retailers to track the source of their sales on the internet, and pay a commission to the websites that supply them – the objective is to generate more sales for the retailer and to allow the referring website to generate their own revenue from commission'
Google 'Optical Express affiliate’ and this is currently listed in second place...
Back to the Daily Mirror page, click on hyperlink  to understand the Pay-per-click* scam that Molly Holt and her employers Trinity Mirror are involved in, to circumvent the ICO enforsement notice served on Optical Express in 2014** encouraging some of our country’s most valuable assets to risk their precious vision to Optical Express!
So when anyone clicks on hyperlink  - more hyperlinks throughout the piece - and completes the online form, Optical Express will see that they came from the Mirror page, with an immediate £7 commission for the Mirror, and another £50 if the person goes to a ‘free’ consultation.
So why is OE offering £50 commission to its affiliates for a consultation when the person might not book?
Duh - because OE store managers, optoms, and ‘refractive counsellors’, are all on target based commissions, and therfore rarely fail to take at least £500 deposit off anyone unlucky enough to walk through their doors for a 'free’ consultation. And unless they find OERML, most unlikely to get a refund under any circumstances, so its a win win situation for everyone bar the poor sucker who falls for this!
If OE were genuinely being charitable, why would they be paying the Mirror click fees for generating leads in an ad claiming they're giving away £1 million of free surgery?
Not forgetting that lens replacement (RLE/NLR) is not included in OE’s Thanks A Million programme, and you can bet your eyesight (too late for many!) that many of those registering for Thanks A Million will be unsuitable for laser and SOLD lens exchange - of course with a £500 discount!
Like I said, a scam, and yet another for the ASA - and probably the ICO
And I will be asking 'Content Commercialisation Editor' Molly Holt - and her employers @Trinity Mirror - if this irresponsible article is classified as news or an advertorial. (And of course if ££ changed hands!)
Because whatever it is, they can count themselves responsible for every one of the NHS workers who will naively go for this and end up irreparably damaged, and possibly unemployed - like some of their colleagues who had surgery at Optical Express!
A continuation of OE's 'Thanks A Million Campaign' launched in 2017, this is nothing more than a scam to circumvent an ICO ruling in 2015, after complaints from people being targeted with unsolicited texts offering the chance to win free surgery.
"Andy Curry, Enforcement Group Manager at the ICO said: ‘Thousands of people who had not signed up for marketing services received these nuisance messages.
For those who don't understand how this Optical Express scam works, it's simples!
Not only will many of the NHS Professionals be unsuitable for laser and pressured into buying lens exchange surgery instead - of course with a £500 discount for being an NHS worker - but applicants will have voluntarily given Optical Express their data who can then safely bombard them with advertising in the future, without fearing the ICO.
In today's ABC News report, an unidentified laser surgeon claims that problems are rare (as every one of us ‘rare' patients was told), and says, 'You take a million patients and do the exact same thing, and there are going to be very rare outlying circumstances.’
Think he meant to say, ‘I am lying’
'At least three Lasik patients who suffered severe complications after refractive eye surgery have ended their own lives, investigative reporter Jace Larson found. The news comes as the Lasik industry maintains the procedure is safe and effective.
It doesn’t get easier for Nancy Burleson each time she visits her son’s grave.
Burleson son died from a self-inflected gunshot wound.
His suicide note read in part, "I hope someday you can understand that I couldn't go on without my eye sight. I trusted a doctor that destroyed my eyes, imagine not being able to see the computer screen, TV, people’s faces.”
'Our investigation dug into a little known FDA database that chronicles patient problems. We discovered more than 700 complaints describing post surgery pain as worse than childbirth.'
ALL unnecessary refractive procedures are risky, not just lasik, with identical problems in every country where they are performed.
Global exposure of the refractive surgery scandal is gathering pace, with more press and media coverage in the last six weeks than we've had in the last six years - and I promise you, so much more to come
To be clear (unlike my vision!), regardless of how primitive RK now looks, the post op problems mentioned in this Canadian TV News broadcast are similar to those untold thousands of us suffer after lasik and lasek/PRK!
And sooner or later, similar critiicisms will be made about the procedures now being promoted as revolutionary, when the tens of thousands of damaged patients worldwide are finally allowed a voice to match that so readily given to the industry by the press and media!
As one damaged person says in this news report, 'The biggest mistake of my life... the benefits never outweighed the risks!'
My response when I read the Mail Online article earlier today is unpublishable
Investigated and written by Jo Macfarlane, the Mail on Sunday published two stories in 2017 exposing Dr Bobby Qureshi, disgraced purveyor of ‘miracle eye surgery', with a third related story on 5 January.
I am therefore shocked and disgusted that they have published a blatant advertorial for more claimed but unproven ‘miracle’ eye surgery!
This was the Express headline promoting Bobby Qureshi in April 2017...
'June’s eye surgeon Bobby Qureshi, who pioneered the new technology at the London Eye Hospital, said he was amazed by the success of the operation.
He said: “When I tested her eyes after the operation, I nearly fell off my chair. The improvement was astonishing.”
Trying to find out the cost of their new ‘miracle’ cataract surgery - sold to people WITHOUT cataracts - I called LaserVision in Manchester.
‘Is that LaserVision, story about Rakesh Jayaswal and Trifocal Duet lenses in The Mail today?’
'No idea.' said the woman who answered my call.
'Is your clinic called LaserVision?’ I asked.
'Ummmm, not sure. I’ve only been here a week. Let me ask someone.'
You couldn’t make it up!
Advised that LaserVision's ophthalmologist in Manchester is Mr Arun Brahma, I called his secretary, who also had no idea of the cost, and said I should call Rakesh Jayaswal’s secretary at LaserVision in Guildford.
So I spoke with Kirsty, saying that I was simply interested in the cost of the Trifocal Duet procedure (and to be fair no-one tried to pressure me into booking), who immediately told me the cost, £4,495 per eye.
I said I was a bit concerned as I'd had been told by other clinics that you should be aged over 50 for this procedure...
Out of her comfort zone, Kirsty replied, ‘Obviously this gentleman, Mr Higgins, is only one year under that… umm… obviously every person that came in, it would be a personal consultation… ummm, I... I… obviously, if he was happy to do the procedure on him if he was under 50…’
I think most of you will agree that the press and media are far from innocent, regularly providing free publicity for greedy and immoral snake oil salesmen, while ignoring the massive scandal of the many thousands of unsuspecting and trusting patients damaged by non-essential laser and lens implant surgery.
After the flurry of publicity following Jessica Starr’s tragic suicide in December, how many more deaths will it take for the press and media to finally acknowledge what this unregulated industry is doing to people?
Time they listened to the victims, not the profiteers!
Meanwhile, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before I'm contacted by unhappy LaserVision patients complaining about their 'miracle cataract surgery' results!
For anyone who missed the BBC News broadcast, the following is taken from the online report
'Denise Di Battista claims she has "blind patches" in her right eye.
The BBC has been told that there have been 800 cases of patients in the UK experiencing "opacification" of a particular implanted Oculentis lens.
Opacification is a known risk of this surgery, can occur with any intraocular lens and can have multiple causes.
Denise Di Battista is a landscape painter and her sight is both her life and her livelihood.
Denise says she was devastated when she learned the problem was possibly caused by an issue with the lens.
"I was very, very shocked. When I came out of the consulting room, my daughter was waiting for me and she said I looked white."
The lenses Denise received were made by European manufacturer Oculentis.
Reports began to emerge that a small number of patients who had received a particular lens were experiencing what is known as opacification, a cloudiness in their vision, caused by calcium deposits.
Oculentis investigated and identified the problem as possibly being the result of an interaction between phosphate crystals used in the hydration process and silicone residues on the lens.
The company says there is evidence some people may be predisposed to this problem or that certain medication can be a factor.
Oculentis decided to advise providers to return affected batches of the type of lens Denise had been given. There is no suggestion that any Oculentis lenses currently available are affected.
Leading eye surgeon Sheraz Daya, who has tried to help patients like Denise, told the BBC: "A percentage of lenses have deposits of calcium on the surface that only become evident five to seven years later, when they accumulate enough to obscure their vision.
"It is understandably devastating for patients who thought they were done and dusted for life and didn't anticipate an issue with the lens."
Oculentis says the only way to correct the problem is to replace the lenses and has paid for surgeons like Sheraz Daya to do this. Thus far about half of those affected have had their lenses replaced.
Around half a million people have cataract surgery each year, making it the most commonly performed operation in the UK.
There are an estimated 800 cases from the affected batches of Oculentis lenses which have led to problems with opacification, a very small proportion of the total.
In a statement, Oculentis told the BBC: "We regret if any patients have experienced complications following the implant of one of our lenses.
"Opacification, or clouding of the lens, is a known risk of lens eye surgery and can be caused by a number of factors interacting, which are not necessarily attributable to the lens itself.
"The incidence rate is extremely low. It can be effectively remedied through lens exchange surgery, which is a safe and well-established procedure.
"Anyone experiencing any vision impairment should consult their surgeon or clinic who will be able to diagnose the cause and recommend an appropriate course of action, otherwise there is no need for any concern."'
Of course I'm thrilled that the UK press and media are finally focusing on the refractive surgery industry, but what's notably missing from this BBC report is the fact that many - if not most - of these lenses were sold to people who DID NOT have cataracts!