I raised a complaint with Optimax earlier this year following Refractive Lens Exchange surgery (lens replacement) in both eyes less than a year ago.
Prior to surgery I only wore glasses for distance (e.g. driving) and had excellent reading and near vision. However, following the procedures my reading and near vision in both eyes were adversely affected.
Pre surgery the Optimax Consultant, Mr Manzar Saeed, told me the lenses they intended to use would provide me a 9.5 out of 10 vision compared to what I was achieving with my distance glasses, with ‘excellent reading and near vision’, and this was the outcome I was expecting but didn’t get.
At my first aftercare appointment, when I highlighted the issues with my reading & near vision the Optometrist advised this was due to my brain still needing to adjust to see black & white through the lenses.
At the next appointment the Optometrist said my vision had worsened further and there was cloudiness on the lens, which would need YAG laser to clear it. I was surprised when they told me I would have to pay an extra £790 for this procedure as I thought that all aftercare was included in the original cost, but their advertised claim of ‘Lifetime Aftercare’ is not what it suggests.
As I couldn’t afford this additional cost they told me I could have it done on the NHS, and provided a referral letter.
After YAG laser on the first eye I experienced no improvement to my vision.
I had a follow up appointment with the NHS Consultant, who advised that although the procedure had been successful, the issues with my vision were due to a refractive error with the lens. In view of this he advised there was no point having the YAG laser on my second eye as the outcome would be the same.
He also said that Optimax should not be telling patients they will have excellent vision following the RLE procedure, as I was told in my consultation before agreeing to proceed.
Optimax has since confirmed that once YAG has been carried out it makes it more difficult to explant problem lenses, which Optimax did not tell me before agreeing to have the YAG, so this may restrict any chances of getting my vision improved.
In view of this I raised a formal complaint with Optimax in May, and was disappointed that the Consultant, Mr Manzar Saeed, could not see me until over 2 months later.
When we finally met, he said my eyesight was ‘perfect’, although conceded that it was only an 8 out of 10, and not the outcome I had expected when I reminded him that it was he who said I would have excellent reading and near vision as a result of the procedures. He said there may be some things they could tweak to try to improve my vision and would refer my details to their Head Optometrist.
Initially Mr Manzar Saeed said the solution was to wear glasses or contact lenses, which I told him was not an acceptable solution. Not only would I have to wear glasses more frequently than before I had surgery, but the whole point of undergoing Lens surgery was to not to have to wear glasses at all.
Following this Optimax advised me to trial a contact lens in one eye with the possibility of laser surgery for monovision, making my non dominant eye long sighted, for near vision.
I am obviously very unhappy with this situation and waiting to hear what they suggest next.
“Sasha Rodoy, of My Beautiful Eyes Foundation, which supports patients who have had poor outcomes from refractive eye surgery, said: ‘I am gravely concerned about the patients Optimax has been unable to contact... they may be walking around with a potential time bomb in their eyes.’”
I've had the same problem after implants with Prof Dr Jan Venter at Optimax in 2005... after 16 years they sent me a letter in March 2021 for a cell count... what the hell I thought!!
So I went and they said my left eye had a 900 count which is low and the lens needed to be extracted... so after much anxiety and fear I had it taken out by Dr llango yesterday... obviously I'll have to wait for the eye to heal and then wear a contact lens for the rest of my life... couldn't believe they left it 16 years without so much as a check up...!!
If you want to discuss this or talk about the next step forward as hardly anyone I know has had this procedure!! my number is [edited]
I had lasik in 2001 at Optimax performed by Manek Patel and only found out in 2019 that I shouldn’t have had it done as my corneas were too thin.
I had to start wearing glasses again within two years of the surgery, and am on annual recall with my local optician, so that’s new glasses every year costing at least £200. The high prescription lenses have to be greatly thinned to fit the frames.
When I was eventually referred to the Western Eye Hospital in London in 2019, they said I shouldn’t have had laser eye surgery as my eyes were not suitable.
Glasses are mostly useless for me now as I can’t see out of my left eye with them no matter how high the prescription, currently minus 14 dioptres, but I still need to wear them when I can't tolerate contact lenses because my eyes get so dry. I have cornea ectasia, and my cornea in my left eye is so thin it’s not suitable for cross-linking and continues to deteriorate.
I get floaters, dry eyes, and balance issues that I guess is caused by the difference in vision in both eyes. The dry eyes are the worse, causing my contact lenses to hurt if I wear too long.
The funny thing is back in 2001 Optimax advertised the reason you would get Lasik vs PRK/Lasek was based on your prescription, and said my prescription was too high for PRK. Yet now I’m told PRK/Lasek is more suitable for thinner corneas. I think they just wanted more money as Lasik was the more expensive treatment.
I also recall during the surgery, after the surgeon had done the right eye, the nurse asked should she change the setting for the left eye, but he said “no leave it”. So he basically screwed up my eye with negligence.
I never went back to complain as I just assumed I was one of the unlucky ones it hadn’t worked for. I also didn’t want a repeat surgery as I’d had pain afterward that was almost like when the dentist hits a nerve, except it was in my eye and would shoot through me. Either way I wish I’d never got it done.
Back then it cost £200 for toric contact lenses, and now I’d be able to get daily disposables, but instead I’m stuck with uncomfortable eyes, bad balance and floaters. I hate wearing my contacts because of the dry eyes, but without them I can’t see further than my arm.
I did recommend it to a friend at the time and he thank god has had no problems, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend laser surgery to anyone now, after all the years I’ve had battling to be heard when I say that I cannot see ☹️
PCSO Ashley B (aka Mr Abs) is now desk bound, his dream of a future career as a police officer and emergency response driver ruined, a result of laser eye surgery at Optimax in 2011, performed by Dr Seethappa Madhusudhan.*
Lots more to this story, including a recording of Russell Ambrose telling Ashley he’d find a way for him to pass the police eye test - to drive at high speed with damaged vision, endangering people’s lives!
In December 2014, Russell paid Ashley in return for his silence (‘gagging’ order), but their email correspondence and recorded conversations in my possession were not deleted.
Have no doubt that the government is fully aware of what is going on within the corrupt refractive eye surgery industry, but too many of them have their fingers in the same poisonous pie!
So as topic says, I paid for a lifetime guarantee back in 2011, it was really a crazy amount of money looking back on it, but thought it was worth it at the time because if anything went wrong I was covered. I raised concerns within the first few months of having the treatment, as I felt I didn't have great results, but they did tests and assured me I had 2020 vision even though I didn't feel I did. Fast forward several years and I was then convinced my eyesight had got much worse so I went to Specsavers who gave me a prescription of minus 1.5 in both eyes. I started wearing glasses again at this point and have done since.
Stupidly, I never really bothered to look into the aftercare that I had paid for with Ultralase. If I remember correctly, I did phone them once around the time I started wearing glasses again, and I think I was told the guarantee was no longer worth anything since they were now a different company. Then I just stopped looking into it any further, until today when I started thinking about it again and just thought it wasn't right what happened. I did phone Ultralase earlier, and was told the same thing I got told a few years ago, being that they were not honouring those guarantees and retreatment would cost approx £2200 (which I obviously wouldn't want to pay).
Is there anything at all I can try doing at this point, or am I out of luck considering I have left it so long? Thank you in advance!
We had a very busy day, more people than we normally see attending the clinic, a mix of pre and post op...
We spoke with one very unhappy and worried laser patient in his late twenties, two weeks post op, his previous appointment with an optom cancelled, no-one returning his calls, which he told us had left him even more stressed. And, still not seen by his operating surgeon, he came out later clutching two boxes of eye drops after being told to give it time!
Another person, who’d had laser surgery at Optimax aged 18, had returned considering more surgery, because now aged 28 (unsurprisingly to me*) her vision has deteriorated and she needs glasses.
But when she heard how lucky she had been, with no serious side effects or complications, she thanked us, and said she wouldn’t be taking the risk.
Another young man who stopped to speak with us, determined to have surgery, told us that his brother had no problems after laser and that's why he wanted the same. We explained that just because one person is lucky doesn't guarantee that everyone will be.
I told him that I have a number of MBEFoundation clients who had surgery on the same day as their partner (laser and lens), and whilst one was successful the other has problems. In some cases both have suffered problems - and a phrase I keep repeating, it’s a matter of luck, like playing Russian roulette, but with more than one bullet in the chamber.
He came out later clutching a bottle of eye drops because he’d been told he had dry eyes, but said they were willing to operate anyway!
As usual we were approached by a number of people passing by, including one person who had a consultation booked at London Vision Clinic in two weeks time.
They were extremely appreciative of the information we provided, and like so many others, had no idea that the #refractivesurgery industry is unregulated, or of the very possible downsides to these operations, and when the person told me that they already have dry eyes, I explained how laser surgery damages the nerves in the eye, about MGD, and Corneal Neuralgia - the list is endless!
LVC owner Dr Blindstein charges £500 for a consultation to find out if you’re suitable for surgery, so he and his pals have the patient on a hook before they even walk through the door.
Because, as I know from my own tragic experience, whilst Optical Express and Optimax|Ultralase UK initially offer free consultations (that often turn out not to be when people are left fighting for their ‘refundable’ deposits), once you've paid a chunky deposit, you don’t want to lose it for no good reason, and feel pressured to stay on the well oiled conveyor belt that so insidiously slides you through to surgery!
*Too young, because your prescription can fluctuate until your 20s, and no ethical refractive surgeon (oxymoron?) would operate on someone who had not had a stable prescription for at least 2 years.
Hostilities were suspended at Finchley Road demo last Thursday (1 July) during negotiations over coffee with Russell Ambrose, owner of financially insolvent Optimax and Ultralase refractive eye surgery clinics.
Normal service resumed this week with privileges withdrawn (and no coffee!)