I was at the clinic for more than four hours, undergoing countless different eye tests (plus a few extra to provide data for his corneal neuropathy research programme).
On this occasion I’m breaking from tradition, and will not be publishing details of Dr Hamrah’s answers to my questions about risky and unregulated refractive eye surgery, as I agreed our conversation was off the record!
Suffice to say, Dr Hamrah is not only committed to his research (importantly not a refractive surgeon so without related financial interests), but he actively helps many patients suffering pain after unregulated refractive eye surgery.
I can however mention that I took the opportunity to discuss Greg Brady, who is suffering a number of very serious problems, that no specialist in the UK has yet managed to diagnose, or provide any significant pain relief.
Greg suffers with persistent debilitating pain, and off the scale photophobia, following PRK surgery in December 2016 at AccuVision - The Eye Clinic in Fulham.
Going by what I'd told him, Dr Hamrah agreed that Greg most likely has extreme corneal neuralgia.
On the positive side, he said that he had successfully treated a few people as badly damaged as this, and he also gave me the name of a specialist in the UK who might be able to help.
I was pleased to be able to relay this welcome news to Greg, and his partner Catherine Froud, both of whom are suffering with depression and undergoing counselling as a result of Greg’s devastating eye surgery.
Whilst waiting for my confocal microscopy scans, seated in a small area, I overheard two people talking about the Corneal Neuralgia Patients Facebook group. I introduced myself, and suddenly there were at least six people exchanging information about their problems resulting from laser eye surgery!
Like those I met, many people regularly travel to Boston from all over America to be treated by Dr Hamrah, from Canada too!
Unfortunately, there is no NHS equivalent in America, and the majority of patients have to fund any treatment themselves, or depend on medical insurance to cover their costs - but for a limited time, like Diana Wozniak (who committed suicide in May), left facing an unbearable future with her pain relief meds stopped when her insurers withdrew funding.
Here are a few links related to Dr Hamrah’s work, but if you google his name you’ll find plenty more.
'Neuropathic dry eye can be due to diverse ocular conditions (e.g., DED, infectious/herpetic keratitis, radiation keratopathy), as well as surgical interventions (e.g., cataract and refractive surgery). Systemic conditions, such as fibromyalgia and Sjögren’s disease, also cause neuropathic dry eye. Symptoms can be potentiated by comorbidities like anxiety and depression.' (Page 2)
'In this case, tear replacement/conservation therapies alone would have been futile, leading to perceived treatment failure. Instead, the identification of corneal nerve damage caused by the refractive procedures led to effective and long-standing symptomatic control with AST.’ (Page 3)
An article I'm sure you'll be interested to read, and perhaps comment on - especially when you see the names of the authors
I was amused by this para in the introduction: ' Prior to elective surgery, patients need to be adequately informed of the benefits and inherent risks of the proposed treatment, possible outcomes, as well as surgical and nonsurgical alternatives to the recommended procedure.1,2 As the number of procedures and their degree of technical complexity grow, delivering the correct information to the patient is becoming increasingly difficult. On one hand, patients should be informed in detail about their surgical procedure; on the other hand, overloading patients with too much technical/medical information may have unintended negative effects by confusing patients, reducing their ability to retain information, and impairing their ability to provide an informed decision.1–3'
After reading various articles. It seems I've been quite lucky but I'll tell you my brush with Optical Express.
After seeing a typical ad, I arranged and went for a review / first consultation with Optical Express in Liverpool.
They ran various tests and asked about my eyes. I have had an issue, for over a year I guess, which I described to both representatives, which was a coloured semi circle appearing at the top of my vision in my left eye every now and again and floaters. They checked my eyes and said everything is fine. They gave me costs for lens replacement which I agree to and paid a deposit. I went for more tests in Manchester and then on the day of surgery, thankfully the surgeon said he was not happy to go ahead as it looked like I had a partial detached retina in my left eye.
I went to A&E that day and a day later, they had carried out laser surgery on my right eye to repair a hole in my retina and a cryo buckle on my left as if had partially detached.
I do feel lucky that the surgeon*(who was not employed by Optical Express - I assume sub-contracted to carry out surgery) decided not to proceed but struggle to get my head around the clear fact that Optical Express are sales driven and the "specialists" in Liverpool are either not competent enough to identify problems such as mine or simply ignore them in order to get a sales bonus (which a lady in customer service did confirm they normally get if surgery goes ahead).
On another day, the decision to proceed may have been made and I'm sure a full detachment will eventually have occurred, potentially causing blindness or near blindness in my left eye.
Lucky, lucky me.
By the way, I still haven't got my deposit back.... apparently it could be up to 6 weeks. *Asheet Desai
Having to wear glasses all my adult life and now bi focals I was getting continuously fed up with carrying...prescription glasses....non prescription sunglassess...prescription sun glasses....contact lenses every where with me....especially when travelling.
I met a lady who had lens surgery through Optical Express and said what a success it as. I decided this would be perfect for me, however, i always like to do my own research.
I found another "friend of a friend" who had had the procedure, but her story did not bode so well for the first six months and then it settled down. I started to look at making an appointment for Milton Keynes Optical Express... luckily I am out of the country till next week so didn't get anything in the diary.
Having put in "lens replacement failure" into google I came across Sasha's site. I was horrified to learn this industry is not regulated...how can this be so???
After reading many accounts on OERML Facebook and this forum I would not proceed now under any circumstances. I'd rather wear glasses and pack an extra bag to accommodate my glasses than give money to an industry that seems to be so corrupt.
Well done Sasha for protecting people like me and giving me the information the industry clearly doesn't want me to see!
I got through to Jeremy Vine On 5 at 9.30am, introduced myself, and was told my name had been mentioned by quite a few callers, and one of the programme's researchers would like to speak with me
The researcher took plenty of details from me, said they’d definitely want me to speak on air, and would flag me up with the gallery (production team).
Another person then called, asking me to be available to speak at 10.15am, with a reminder not to mention any laser provider by name.
Next call at 10.15am, told they were about to put me through to Jeremy Vine, and to please only talk about my laser eye surgery, not my work as My Beautiful Eyes campaigner and patient advocate. Wtf?
Quickly biting my tongue I said OK, if that’s what you want… (fingers crossed behind my back!)
And then I waited... listening to the audio feed - wanting to scream at Sheila (NHS cataract surgery & laser for floaters) that she DID NOT have laser vision correction, and that LVC is NOT available on the NHS!
The exact words I said were, 'Unf*ckingbelievable - more bias!’, before I slammed the phone down on the person who came back to me to say sorry, they’d run out of time!
I was given the same excuse from BBC Rip Off Britain in 2017, after they filmed a two hour interview with me at their Manchester studio, while the Daily Mail claimed there was not enough space to include even one comment from me in the article I worked on with journalist Thea Jourdan (published 16 February).
My Beautiful Eyes Foundation member Karen Taylor was also asked to speak on air, but after calling her back and putting her on hold, they suddenly told her there wasn't enough time - she too had mentioned regulation when she’d called in!
Any other campaign related to a medical procedure would be given plenty of press and air time, so it is bizarre and inexcusable that mine is blocked at every avenue!
I was very surprised to discover that Jeremy Vine’s consultation was with David Allamby, not the Reinstein Cowboy as I’d assumed.
Fyi, David Allamby learned his trade at Optimax, a fact you won't find advertised on his website. Perhaps why he’s held in low regard by more experienced refractive surgeons, some of whom have openly expressed their contempt for his claim that he ‘pioneered’ the soothingly named 'Blended Vision' in 2003, while Dr Dan Reinstein claims that he pioneered the procedure in 2005!
Listen to this snippet from Jeremy Vine’s show this morning, and you might well ask how much research this stupid man has actually done!
His claim that, ‘The number of times it goes wrong in any way at all is tiny tiny tiny - we're talking about in tens of thousands...’ has no validity whatsoever, because even the Royal College of Ophthalmologists claim 95% success rate. And of course we know it’s way lower than that, with no reliable data to support any stats quoted by the industry (as confirmed in an email to me from Bruce Allan!)
Vine continues, ‘And actually it doesn’t wear off, in the situation that I’m in, it doesn’t suddenly, slowly go back...’
ROTFLMAO - lifted from David Allamby’s own website!
Also from David Allamby’s site, reassuring advertising jargon to convince people that it’s not really an operation they’d be having, ‘[Blended Vision] does not require a visit to the operating theatre’.
It’s a fact that ANY type of laser eye surgery is an operation, that can only (legally) be performed by a GMC registered surgeon, so of course it’s an operating theatre ffs!
Jeremy Vine unarguably provided yet another advertorial for this unregulated industry, and of course priceless advertising for David Allamby, who wore his surgical gown emblazoned with his clinic logo throughout the video clip!
I know David Allamby, and called him earlier to ask him a few questions before writing this post, but it went straight to voicemail and he hasn’t got back to me yet, and I doubt he will after reading my comments!
My impression is that this is a done deal, priceless advertising in return for free surgery, because since yesterday morning Jeremy Vine has jumped from ‘only going for a consultation’ to a gushing convert and promoter of laser eye surgery - that he hasn’t even had!
Jeremy Vine knows about me, my campaign for regulation of the refractive eye surgery industry, the thousands of people irreparably damaged - and he must have seen the UK press about Jessica Starr - yet this is all swept aside and ignored in favour of more publicity for the corrupt and unregulated refractive eye surgery industry.
And if Jeremy goes ahead, then just like Philip Schofield, of course his ops will be videoed, and thousands more people will have laser eye surgery on the say so of a TV presenter!
I therefore have to agree with what so many people have said to me in person, and on My Beautiful Eyes Foundation closed Facebook group: let’s hope that Jeremy does have surgery, and that he does end up with problems, because he is already ultimately responsible for those people who are going to suffer irreparable damage to their eyes and lives when they flock for laser eye surgery, and of course those who’ll be talked into lens replacement.
PS: Look what else I found on David Allamby's website!
Remind me, which of you still suffer 'side effects' (incl dry eyes) after lasik? Let's say since surgery more than 18 months ago, which I think is enough time to be considered 'long-term'!