Optimax, who made contact with me after many, many years to have an eye check up for £35. So i went to their office in Liverpool Street on 17.4.21 when i was told that i needed to changed my left Lense very soon or I will lose my eye sight. Basically, there is a long back story, but i have been to seen by them last week and am in the process of arranging a zoom meeting with a consultant to see if i am suitable for surgery which they will cover the cost of my lense removal and replacement but if i want the multifocal lense i will have to pay the difference of £785. My cell count is low and i am really worried about this, is there somebody that can help me??
———————- admin: Shocking that Optimax think it sufficient for very disturbed and anxious people to have a Zoom call with a surgeon before having momentous life changing surgery!
After contacting Sasha she recommended an independent ophthalmologist to provide a second opinion and Optimax agreed to pay for the consultation.
The Consultant was amazing and we felt very safe. He did not understand why Optimax had intended to take the lenses out yet as there're no previous ECC readings to show when my wife's cell count went down.
Not too concerned about the cell count at the moment, but we have booked in for another ECC in 6 months time to see what loss has occurred.
We received an email today from Optimax which states that they have been trying to contact us (no they haven’t) and that they are having to cancel the operation due to unforeseen circumstances and for my wife to call and make a new appointment when it is convenient.
Concerning that Optimax had booked my wife in for a lens extraction without being examined by a surgeon, and a consultation scheduled only 35 mins before the intended operation!
We want some answers from them regarding why they wanted to remove the lenses without her having seen a surgeon, and why they haven’t done counts yearly, and where my wife's records are. Probably many other questions to ask after they have put us through hell since they contacted us.
It's still possible that the lenses will eventually have to be removed but we won't know until the next ECC. If they do need removing we won't be trusting Optimax to do this.
I have just found your forum as I have been looking for information on Optimax and lens implants with regards to endothelial cell damage.
My wife has just been contacted by Optimax after 17 years of having a lens implant. She has now been told the lenses need to be removed and her endothelial cell counts are dangerously low.
We are going for a second opinion privately but really looking for more information and what the future holds.
Flushed with the success of recent demos at Optimax|Ultralase we returned for a second day this week on Wednesday, which they definitely were not expecting - we'd intended a third day but the weather was too bad
Aiming to be on site in time to catch the early birds leaving after their 8.30am consultations, and having been told the clinic was fully booked, we were surprised that only five customers materialised whilst we were there.*
Two of these were lens patients who’d had surgery years ago, suddenly invited by Optimax for check ups with an optom - at the cost of £300, even though not seen by an ophthalmologist!
Guess that’s one way to scrape up the rent when you’re financially insolvent!
*As with all other potential customers we’ve spoken to, the three people attending for laser consultations had NOT been told that Optimax was in a CVA, whilst one of them had been given Ultralase literature.
As we started to pack up to leave later that afternoon, a young man and his mother approached us, and not only made our time spent worthwhile, but perhaps explained why the clinic was so quiet.
The woman had a laser consultation booked just before midday, but fortuitously, one of her sons accompanying his father to a nearby clinic early that morning for (essential) surgery had seen us setting up camp.
He sent photos to his mother who had then immediately cancelled her appointment.
The woman said that when she'd initially contacted Optimax, asking if she could have laser eye surgery at the age of 50, the call centre adviser told her ‘yes', that she could have it even in her 60s and 70s!
I suspect however, that just as Optical Express do, once in the door they’d have sold her lens exchange, way more profitable for refractive eye surgery companies.
The woman was incredibly grateful, literally with tears in her eyes (better than post op tears!), but we were also very appreciative that they had come to tell us this, because we had no way to know otherwise.
Her son told us that his wife had also planned to have laser surgery at Optimax, but that she wouldn't do so now.
As usual, we made it clear that it doesn't matter where you have surgery, that these operations carry the same risks, that there is no government regulation, etc…
Demos are incredibly effective, motorists as well as pedestrians taking photos, often asking if they can share on their social media sites - YES!
It's not just the people going in for consultations we're helping, but so many more who stop to ask questions, telling us they were thinking about it, close to booking consult, had booked consult... none who realise the industry is unregulated!
The most oft repeated words we hear is that they know people who've had good results with (apparently) no problems.
Exactly - that's why we do what we do!
Plenty more London demos planned, not only at Optimax|Ultralase, so please do contact us if you’d like to come along.
And if you can't make it to London, it only takes TWO people to stand outside your target premises, wearing the appropriate T-shirt and handing out flyers. Banners not necessary.
Outside Optimax aka Ultralase today, raising awareness and providing honest information to people considering refractive surgery - that they will never hear from those selling it
Optical Express at 22 Harley Street is just one minute’s walk from Optimax, on the opposite side of the road, and when I arrived this morning the only parking space available was immediately outside the Optical Express entrance!
And with my #OERML wheel cover attracting attention I was sorely tempted to leave my car there for the rest of the day, but I might have returned to find four flat tires! So when a space freed up outside Optimax I moved…
Our demos refer to the entire industry, not just Optical Express or Optimax|Ultralase UK, so yet again everyone we spoke to was shocked that there is no government regulation.
But more surprising to us demonstrators were the horror stories three people told us about their own refractive surgery experiences, including one man whose eyes were ruined by RK surgery about 10 years ago, who apparently succeeded in putting the (now deceased) surgeon out of business.
So many tragedies caused by refractive surgery over the years, the vast majority ignored by press and media!
Meanwhile, there were so few customers visiting today that I wonder how they’re paying the rent, but it does explain why the Harley St clinic is only open a few days each week.
Yawning, with only two of us left by mid afternoon, all of us having spoken with numerous people passing by, some who had been considering surgery (before talking to us!), we decided to call it a day - but just as we were about to pack up a couple in their fifties arrived.
We asked if they wanted to speak with us before going in to Optimax, which they did, but as we started to talk the receptionist came out, all but dragging the couple inside by their hair! However, the couple didn't budge and stayed with us…
The wife was intending to have (not urgent) cataract surgery, and I advised her that it’s not just Optimax, that the entire industry is unregulated, that MBEF represents clients damaged by most providers, primarily the big ones who shout the loudest, including Optegra Eye Hospital, and to Google #PaulDance for a tragic (but unfortunately not rare) story.
After ten to fifteen minutes, the woman had heard enough to change her mind, and having also spoken with my colleague suffering irreparable problems after lens surgery, said she would rather go on the #NHS waiting list.
The receptionist came out again and told the couple that she had a previous patient inside who was very happy with her surgery, and willing to tell them all about it. I politely told her to butt out, not to interrupt me, and to save her sales pitch for when they went inside.
She wasn’t happy, no doubt less so when the couple eventually went in - and left within 10 mins!
In the midst of this, a young woman and her mother finally came out (after nearly 3hrs!!) and spoke with us. (The receptionist had also dragged them in when they first arrived.)
The mother thought she had done sufficient research, asked us many questions, and said she would look into this further, but she was taken aback to be told about Optimax’s CVA.
Because, contrary to what was claimed by the Optimax supervisor (read Optimax Ruined My Life post below), potential customers are NOT being advised of the CVA!
Posing as a potential customer, on 27 May, campaigner Sasha Rodoy called Optimax call centre and asked if the company was in financial difficulties, and if there was a CVA in place. This was vehemently denied to Sasha, who ended her call by saying: ‘You're lying’.
Optimax & Ultralase record all incoming calls, and of course this one with Sasha was played to owner Russell Ambrose.
The call centre staff were quickly provided with scripts, to be used should querying customers mention the very sensitive CVA topic!
This recording includes excerpts from a second call two days later, made by someone else posing as a potential customer speaking with the Optimax/Ultralse call centre supervisor.
Included in the original uncut recording, the Optimax supervisor told the caller, ‘We have put our financial position out there’.
I had my lens implant surgery in October 2003, so I believe I was also one of the first to get it done. 18 years later, last month in May 2021, my elderly mother and father got a phone call from Optimax asking for me. I had since moved to Ireland and had children etc. They passed on my details and I received a voicemail saying it was extremely important for me to get my cell count checked and they sent me a letter to the same effect.
I visited the Optimax surgery in Belfast where they were unable to count cells in one of my eyes. The optometrist said she wanted a 2nd opinion because she was worried the count was low and that she'd discuss with the practice manager and get back to me.
Yesterday I had a phone call from the manager who said she had talked to a consultant and both lenses would need to be explanted. Needless to say I was in complete shock as 1) This is the first time I've ever heard anything from Optimax in 17 years 2) This is the first time I've heard about the importance of endothellial cell count checks 3) There was never any mention of the lenses ever having to be removed when I had them done.
I'm extremely upset and worried about this as my cells have been damaged by having the lenses in for so long. Someone should have contacted me years ago to discuss this new information about cell counts then I would have had them checked regularly. I've literally heard nothing from them in 17 years.
I now have to travel to London from Ireland, at my own expense, to have the surgery which will leave me with my former terrible eyesight. Also I'm worried about the future health of my eyes once the surgery has been completed as my cell count is so low. This is an absolute disaster and I've shed tears over the whole debacle. I am currently seeking a 2nd opinion/advice about the after effects of the surgery and will also be seeking legal advice. Has anyone had both of theirs explanted? How did it go? Did you seek legal advice?
________________________ admin: Please see email
A serious incident with a patient who’d been fitted with IOLs at their clinic in the early noughties lead to Optimax urgently trying to recently contact ALL patients fitted with these Artiflex lenses!*
Patients were not warned at the time of the risks, nor that they urgently need to have an Endothelial cell count check (ECC) annually, and thanks to their details not being entered into the Optimax computer correctly many are STILL unaware that they risk the possibility of a corneal transplant if left unchecked!!
Neerja was one of these patients (eyes pictured), and last month she underwent extremely distressing and painful surgery to remove the lens from her left eye after discovering that her cell count had dropped: optimaxreviews.co.uk/.../optimax-icl-problems.../
Meanwhile, Optimax continue to promote these unnecessary and highly risky operations as being safe - they are not!
I went to Optimax after seeing an advertisement about laser surgery in 1997.
I was very short sighted in both eyes, about minus 8 diopters. I was under the care of Eammon Hynes at Optimax Manchester clinic and he was very reassuring about the planned procedures.
I had my non-dominant right eye treated with PRK [lasek]. Although the outcome was good at 00 diopters, my astigmatism had worsened to the extent of 1.5 and I was one line off the 20 vision.
I wanted to leave it at that and take advantage of the new LASIK treatment for my left eye, but Eammon Hynes convinced me that further correction was not a problem.
I had a second PRK procedure, which made matters worse - my astigmatism had worsened to 2.25 although the power correction was good.
The problems with my vision had begun to affect my quality of life so I went for a third PRK treatment, which I was again assured would be minor “only 25 seconds with the laser”. The outcome was terrible. The laser had bubbled my cornea with its heat and I now had a diagonal strip across my whole eye, which blurred my vision. Eammon Hynes' confidence in the procedure was unfounded.
At this point I was referred to Chad Rostron in Harley Street for a Corneal graft. Optimax said they would pay for any remedial work but no apology was forthcoming.
I had a partial thickness graft in early 2003 and although there was some doubt initially whether a graft could be found one was obtained and the operation went ahead in London.
Although the usual assurances were given, after 6 months the vision in my right eye was terrible. In fact it wasn’t long before I kept my right eye closed all the time as I could not see out of it and it was more comfortable to keep it permanently closed.
A further operation was carried out with a full thickness graft in October 2003. A few weeks after this my eye rejected the graft. I saw Chad once more (an incompetent fool) and he said I might lose the eye.
A month later I was given a Botox injection by Mr Muhtaseb which closed my eyelid to help the eye heal. The pain was terrible and I had to lie on my back most of the time. Eventually in December I tried to contact Chad Rostron but he was out of the country.
Optimax paid all my travelling expenses up to this time. But as my eye was becoming unbearably painful I was finding it increasingly difficult to travel between my home in North Yorkshire and London, so I asked Optimax if there was someone nearer my home I could be referred to.
Chad Rostron’s registrar at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, where I had been going for treatment in Chad’s absence, had mentioned a Mr Bruce Noble as being someone I could go to, and I asked Optimax if I could be transferred there, and they agreed. I saw Mr Noble at his private clinic in late December 2003.
Mr Noble was horrified at the condition of my eye. The graft was sloughing off and was just held on by mucus. Within three days of the consultation I was admitted to Leeds General Hospital and given another emergency corneal graft.
Mr Noble said that private medicine could not cope with my situation and he gave me a 50/50 chance of saving my eye. From that time on my care has been provided by the NHS.
Since then I have had various other procedures on my right eye, none of them successful.
In September 2017 my corneal graft was very thin and patchy, in a state of decompensation. The worst part (thinnest) of it was superglued and a bandage contact lens placed over it to protect my eyelids. (This was done once before in 2009 but the glue failed to allow healing of the cornea and another graft was put on by another operation in short measure)
In this case I had only weeks to find out if the graft would heal, but I was not hopeful. The glue would eventually fall off and the graft not heal.
I emailed Russell Ambrose on the 4 September 2017:
“I had laser surgery a while ago now on my right eye and after five corneal grafts my latest one is in a state of decomposition with little eye pressure.
My consultant Mr Ball at St James recommends replacing my eye with a prosthetic in the coming week and I do not wish this to happen if at all possible. Can you help?”
“I am very sorry to hear this.
I will ask my senior doctor to comment but I am not hopeful of a positive outcome.
Please note that my doctors are not corneal graft specialists.
Mr Ball has a good reputation and I suggest that you also ask him to recommend another surgeon for a review of your options.”
In 2018 my right eye was removed.
Russell Ambrose offered to pay for this privately, but my NHS consultant refused.
I now have glaucoma in my remaining eye and am registered as visually impaired.
Needless to say, I have received no compensation from Optimax even though I lost my eye due to the surgery they sold me, and up to the present day no-one at Optimax has ever followed up my case or given any intimation that they are interested.
But then, perhaps they don’t want to hear about the failures.
You too can have laser eye treatment at Optimax and end up with one of these. I did.