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|25 Nov 2020 20:32 #564|
Optical Express apparently not doing as well as they'd like people to believe
Throughout previous years, busy OE stores have generally closed on Xmas & new year’s day only, but this year they are (voluntarily) closing most stores for an unprecedented two weeks, from 19 Dec to 4 Jan; some opening for a few days a week, whilst their three big shopping centre stores in Scotland (including Gyle) will be closed throughout Xmas week, opening for just a few days during the first week of the new year.
Certainly good news for all the people who might have been tempted to risk damaging their eyes over the holidays, but not for OE staff who’ve been told by the Wee Shugster (aka Hugh Kerr, listed on LinkedIn as ’Senior Team’) that they must use up their annual holiday leave for that period, and if not enough left then staff must take it off next year's allowance!
Meanwhile, according to this article, OE's pet publicity whore, Dr Hilary Jones, is now a leading scientific expert:
'A leading scientific expert has compared the effectiveness of Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine to that of the annual flu jab.’
Of course Hilary Jones is not a scientific expert, he's an ex GP, who pays a 'revalidation service’ to keep his GMC registration (see 13 Oct) to give himself a thread of credibility, yet I understand that he hasn't treated a patient for more than fifteen years, probably much longer. (Should Hilary have evidence proving otherwise I’ll be happy to publish.)
And while the pandemic continues to be highly profitable for Hilary Jones, I’m sure that when an effective vaccine becomes available, and his invaluable help telling the public how to wear a face mask no longer needed, then he will find something else to boost his bank balance, perhaps a new product to add to his VERY long list of endorsements, which of course includes Optical Express - even though they didn’t operate on him!
As I've said before, this utterly contemptible man gets most of the 'expert advice' he dispenses from Google, and an email he sent to me in 2013 - responding to my criticism of his paid promotion of 'laser blended vision' surgery with Dr Blindstein (so named by Boris) - was blatantly obviously written by Dan Reinstein himself!
I now have pleasure as promised in replying to the various comments made after the broadcasts last week regarding laser blended vision. I hope you will give equal prominence to my replies as to the criticisms that have been posted. I will take each point in turn and will try to be rather more polite than Ed Boshnik was who may not be aware in his line of work fitting contact lenses to people who have had complications of LASIK that unfortunately there are no really effective FDA approved repair tools available in the US, and therefore his comments apply much less to the UK. He might also wish to research the options open to his patients for therapeutic surgical solutions outside of the USA in order to best advise his patients. You may be aware that Professor Reinstein is an American Surgeon (Professor at Columbia University, New York) who left the USA precisely because of the restrictions to developing advances in the field of laser eye surgery – a result of the relatively less effective regulatory environment in the US compared to Europe. He regularly receives patients transferred by his colleagues for fixing LASIK complications.
1. 10 TIMES SAFER THAN CONTACTS? WHERE DOES HE GET THIS INFORMATION FROM?
The literature on the risk of losing best spectacle corrected vision by contact lens wear is clear. The main risk of losing vision with contact lens wear is related to the risk of infections, and in particular microbial keratitis. Although the risk of infection is relatively low, the consequences can be catastrophic and can result in scarring that can severely impair best spectacle corrected vision or even worse lead to the need for corneal transplantation in worst case scenarios. The reported risk of microbial keratitis with contact lens wear has been reported to vary between 0.018% and 0.18% with a risk of losing vision of between 0.006% and 0.036%. Below is a table including the most recent relevant literature on this topic for your reference:
Type of CL wear
Incidence of Microbial Keratitis
Schein et al
Silicone Hydrogel Extended Wear
18 per 10 000
(3.6 per 10 000 with vision loss)
Seal et al
1999 - CLAO
All Contact lens wearers
1.8 per 10 000
(vision loss not reported)
Daily wear soft CL wearers
1.9 per 10 000
(0.6 per 10 000 with vision loss)
Daily wear Silicone Hydrogel
5.5 per 10 000
(0.6 per 10 000 with vision loss)
2013 Eye Contact Lens
Silicone Hydrogel Extended Wear
13.3 per 10 000 to 18.0 per 10 000
(vision loss not reported)
This literature supports the notion that the probability of losing BSCVA to the level defined by the WHO as visual impairment (20/60) is approximately 1 in 8,000. Assuming a starting point of 20/20 in 50% of patients and 20/16 in 50% of patients, this would be a risk of 1 in 8,000 of loss of 5.5 lines.
Not to mention of course that contact lenses are foreign material resting on one of the most sensitive parts of the body – the cornea and these produce many other side effects and permanent changes to the eye including contact lens papillary conjunctivitis (CLPC), contact lens acute red eye (CLARE), sterile peripheral ulcers, long term endothelial cell function and cell loss due to chronic oedema and hypoxia (reduced oxygen) – less so with modern silicone hydrogel lenses but only 10-15% of UK market.
On the other hand, the surgeon who I had my surgery done by has performed over 21,000 procedures with statistics which are fully documented in his practice. In his practice the probability of losing only 2 lines of best spectacle corrected vision due to LASIK for a case such as mine was given to me before surgery – zero in over 3,200 consecutive cases of simple presbyopia having Laser Blended Vision with the Carl Zeiss Meditec lasers) - the statistical 95% confidence interval for this statistic includes a maximum of 0.1% (1 in a thousand).
Conclusion: Laser Blended Vision performed in expert hands with the latest technology is safer than contact lens wear in the general population.
2. LASER SURGERY HAS BEEN AROUND FOR 50 YEARS
The concept that refractive error could be corrected by sculpting corneal stromal tissue to change corneal curvature was first introduced by Jose Ignacio Barraquer Moner in 1948, who developed a procedure he coined “keratomileusis”. Keratomileusis involved ressecting a disc of anterior corneal tissue
that was then frozen in liquid nitrogen, placed on a modified watchmaker’s lathe, and milled to change corneal curvature. He treated his first patients in the early 1960s, after which a number of other international surgeons also started performing keratomileusis and continued the development of the procedure. Luis Ruiz developed a new form of the procedure called in situ keratomileusis in which the concept of a flap was first introduced.
The procedure was revolutionized with the introduction of the excimer laser in the 1980s, which was found to be able to remove stromal tissue without scarring. The combination of the excimer laser and in situ keratomileusis then became laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), first performed in Russia in 1988.
In the context of the interview it is true to say that the procedure of changing the focusing power of the eye by sculpting tissue (keratomileusis) has been around forover 50 years. Any data that we have for keratomileusis is immediately applicable to understanding LASIK – and the addition of the laser 25 years ago has only made things safer and more accurate.
For full references of Barraquer’s original works, please see Professor Reinstein’s article describing the history of LASIK that was published in the Journal of Refractive Surgery last year. (Reinstein DZ, Archer TJ, Gobbe M. The history of LASIK. J Refract Surg. 2012 Apr;28(4):291-8.)
Laser Blended Vision does require the use of a micro-monovision, however monovision after laser surgery is very different to that which is achieved by contact lens monovision because of the induction of higher order aberrations. This is particularly true with Laser Blended Vision because it is based on controlling the induction of aberrations, particularly spherical aberration, that increase the depth of field of each eye (references for this below). With this increased depth of field, a lower degree of anisometropia is required compared with contact lens monovision, which we refer to as micro-monovision. Therefore, as there is a smaller difference between the two eyes and an increased depth of field in both eyes, there is much greater overlap between the two eyes, which enables good vision at all distances. I agree with you that the neural processing capability differs between patients, but Laser Blended Vision is superior to Monovision because it produces enough image similarity between the eyes that the brain fuses R and L eye images (there is stereoacuity preserved) – unlike monovision where the brain is required to supress the vision of the eye that is out of focus – and hence why stereoacuity is lost in monovision. These improvements over contact lens monovision (or normal monovision by LASIK) mean that Laser Blended Vision can be tolerated by the vast majority of patients – in Reinstein’s published studies – corroborated by others now, he found this to be about 97% (reference below). Reinstein has published his results using this technique for hyperopic, myopic and emmetropic patients in the Journal of Refractive Surgery (references below).
References for depth of field increase:
Rocha KM, Vabre L, Chateau N, Krueger RR. Expanding depth of focus by modifying higher-order aberrations induced by an adaptive optics visual simulator. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2009 Nov;35(11):1885-92.
Benard Y, Lopez-Gil N, Legras R. Optimizing the subjective depth-of-focus with combinations of fourth- and sixth-order spherical aberration. Vision Res. 2011 Dec 8;51(23-24):2471-7.
Yi F, Iskander DR, Collins M. Depth of focus and visual acuity with primary and secondary spherical aberration. Vision Res. 2011 Jul 15;51(14):1648-58.
References for Laser Blended Vision:
Reinstein DZ, Couch DG, Archer TJ. LASIK for hyperopic astigmatism and presbyopia using micro-monovision with the Carl Zeiss Meditec MEL80 platform. J Refract Surg. 2009 Jan;25(1):37-58.
Reinstein DZ, Archer TJ, Gobbe M. LASIK for Myopic Astigmatism and Presbyopia Using Non-Linear Aspheric Micro-Monovision with the Carl Zeiss Meditec MEL 80 Platform. J Refract Surg. 2011 Jan;27(1):23-37.
Reinstein DZ, Carp GI, Archer TJ, Gobbe M. LASIK for presbyopia correction in emmetropic patients using aspheric ablation profiles and a micro-monovision protocol with the Carl Zeiss Meditec MEL 80 and VisuMax. J Refract Surg. 2012 Aug;28 (:531-41.
4. NEED GLASSES AGAIN
When I stated this, it was meant in the context that I would “never NEED glasses again” because the procedure is fully adjustable over time as required.
5. RIGHT PEOPLE WITH RIGHT LASERS
See below for answer.
6. 97% OF PUBLIC ELIGIBLE
The 97% tolerance was referring to the tolerance to Laser Blended Vision, rather than suitability for laser eye surgery in general – i.e. after applying the standard exclusion criteria for LASIK including keratoconus, pregnancy, etc. This 97% tolerance figure was published in in Professor Reinstein’s paper reporting the outcomes of Laser Blended Vision in hyperopic patients (Reinstein DZ, Couch DG, Archer TJ. LASIK for hyperopic astigmatism and presbyopia using micro-monovision with the Carl Zeiss Meditec MEL80 platform. J Refract Surg. 2009 Jan;25(1):37-58.).
The comments about right people and right lasers were made in the context of correcting presbyopia, for which there certainly are right people and right lasers. Firstly, many laser eye surgeons will say that presbyopia cannot be corrected as the laser that they use does not offer a presbyopic treatment. Other surgeons may offer any one of the different surgical approaches for presbyopia that are currently being used, including multi-focal laser corneal ablation, intra-corneal inlays, intra-ocular lenses, and Intracor. The peer-reviewed literature contains articles reporting the outcomes of all of these different treatment options for presbyopia. Professor Reinstein has recently undertaken a review of this literature to compare the outcomes and have found that Laser Blended Vision achieved the best outcomes both in terms of efficacy and most importantly safety. This review is due to be published in the Journal of Refractive Surgery next year, although a summary has been presented at a number of international conferences this year (e.g. Reinstein DZ. ‘The Search for the Holy Grail in Presbyopia Correction’, Invited Keynote Speaker, Keynote Speech, ACOS American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery 28-30 June 2013, Cannes, France.).
In my opinion, the results for some of these techniques (notably multi-focal corneal ablations and Intracor) are poor enough that I would definitely not recommend them to a patient. However, this is not something that could be improved by a government agency. These procedures are all CE marked and approved for use in Europe, so it is up to the surgeons to consider the data and decide which procedure to offer the patient.
The patient needs to research each of the different options to make up their minds – by requesting statistics from the surgeon, by looking at the scientific literature and by reading available impartial information such as from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists ( www.rcophth.ac.uk/page.asp?section=368§iontitle ) or the guidance documents provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, www.nice.org ), which is a government sponsored agency. This is exactly the same as with any other type of surgery – as long as a type of procedure has been approved, then it can be offered by surgeons. It is not only laser eye surgery where surgeons may not offer the patient the optimal treatment option. It is not the responsibility of a government agency to monitor the treatment choices of all doctors and surgeons across all fields of medicine – there will always be some doctors offering different treatments until the evidence for one treatment over another is overwhelming. As presbyopia correction is a developing field, it is still at the point where there are a number of different treatment types still available.
Finally, there is now a qualification required to practice laser eye surgery in the UK, which is obtained via the Royal College of Ophthalmologists ( www.rcophth.ac.uk/page.asp?section=122&s...r+Refractive+Surgery ), which was introduced following a Bill which passed through two readings in Parliament in 2006.
I hope this addresses your concerns. I take on board your comments and totally understand your desire to give the public reliable information.
Dr Hilary Jones'
|25 Oct 2020 16:28 #563|
Making it clear where the Conservative party’s loyalties lie, with his seal of approval, MP Gareth Johnson's support for Optical Express is a big 'f*ck you' to the many thousands of people damaged by this corrupt and unregulated industry - and to the NHS burdened with cleaning up the mess!
And instead of complaining to the patients, perhaps it would be more productive if NHS consultants stuck their head above the parapet and told the government how unfair this is
Like NHS Sunderland Health consultant Jean-Pierre Danjoux, who asked an Optical Express patient referred to him if she thought it correct that the taxpayer should burden the cost to repair a procedure performed privately, also refusing to see another OE patient recently referred by their GP!
When I heard about the new Dartford premises in early September I called Optical Express for more information.
Presenting myself as a potential victim, I asked about London locations, specifically near Dartford, and was told that the Bluewater shopping mall store had closed during lockdown and hadn't reopened (presumably leaving a wake of debt as is OE’s modus operandi), but that I could go to the new premises near by.
I discovered that the relocated Dartford clinic is on an industrial estate, where of course there will be limited footfall (number of people passing by), but the rent will be a fraction of what it was at Bluewater.
'David Moulsdale, Optical Express, chairman and CEO, added: “This £3m investment in Dartford will hugely benefit our patients and the local economy. We are determined that our response to coronavirus will be to continue to expand and invest in our excellent clinics. We’re aiming to retain and attract the very best local talent, and are recruiting for a variety of roles, including optometrists and managers, across the country.”’
'The new 10,000 square feet treatment centre in Dartford is a relocation and expansion of a smaller Optical Express clinic within Bluewater Shopping Centre. The new treatment centre means patients can now receive a wider variety of treatments such as lens replacement or cataract surgery in Dartford, rather than having to travel into central London for surgery.'
Even though fitted out with operating theatres and ventilation, all the hardware used at Bluewater will have been moved to the industrial estate premises, and the massive saving on rent will offset any costs, so claiming a £3m investment is not as impressive as some might think!
Similarly, relocating the Maidstone store to a business park has cut enormous shopping mall rental costs...
‘Based in the new Turkey Mill business park development, the new clinic will provide easy access to eye care expertise for residents of Maidstone and surrounding towns and villages. The clinic replaces a former Optical Express retail and refractive consultation clinic based in the Mall Shopping Centre.'
Do not therefore be fooled by advertised boasts of expansion and new premises, because Optical Express is struggling, and desperately cutting costs by moving out of expensive premises into cheaper ones.
And with little footfall on an industrial site and business parks, they’ll be fighting to find new customers, so expect an increase in advertising (I won’t be surprised to hear that they’ve resorted to accosting high street shoppers, as do hairdressers trying to drum up business!)
And I predict more London stores will close soon, or relocate to smaller cheaper premises which will only provide consultations and eye tests, referring victims to Dartford for surgery.
'The new clinic and treatment centre will also help to alleviate demand on local NHS services at a time when they are under increased pressure. Traditional forms of vision correction are currently having a significant impact on patients and NHS resources, particularly at NHS Eye Hospitals.’
Already signed up with NHS Scotland, I know that OE is similarly discussing cataract contracts with NHS England - perhaps Gareth Johnson and some of his pals somehow induced to help grease the path along the way?
'Contact lenses carry a significant risk of infection, while bifocal and multifocal glasses are a major contributor to serious trips and falls, many of which result in hospital admission.* Greater availability and uptake of vision correction surgery would address both these issues and reduce the number of patients requiring medical assistance, helping to protect the NHS.** Modern day surgical procedures provide extremely safe, effective and environmentally friendly vision correction solutions, with life-changing benefits.’
*Dan Reinstein’s idiocy on This Morning last year picked up by OE who wish they’d thought of it!
**The only way OE can protect the NHS is to close down!
Finally, I would point out to Gareth Johnson that the number of jobs generated by OE's new premises is an exaggeration, a flea bite on Dartford’s local employment figures, and this blinkered MP should do some research and understand that this will in fact have a devastating impact on the NHS when Dartford constituents are left damaged with nowhere else to turn.
But regardless of advertising and relocation boasts, Optical Express' forthcoming GOC Fitness to Practise hearing is not going to help their sales one little bit when the story hits the national press next month!
|19 Oct 2020 18:01 #562|
Is there no end to Optical Express' disgusting amd unethical low life behaviour??!!! They are currently airing a TV ad exploiting the horrendous Covid 19 situation....stating if your glasses keep steaming up because of wearing a mask have surgery 😠😠😠 Absolutely shocking. Those who see the ad please report to the Advertsiing Standards Authority. They have a dedicated page for Covid 19 exploitation in advertising. I am in Scotland and saw the advert so please where you are if you see it ....report it.
|15 Oct 2020 14:49 #561|
“Dr Hilary Jones revealed he was sent ‘vile messages’ from trolls on social media, following news he has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.”
Deserved methinks - the trolls and vile messages that is, not his MBE
Hilary Jones has cashed in on the pandemic, repeatedly presenting himself as the UK's medical expert on all things Covid related, delivering his advice in a way that might suggest to the general public that he is on the government payroll, consulting with Professor Chris Whitty, instead of sourcing his info from Google and TV news!
Martin Lewis also deserves contempt: 'Congratulations to my friend Dr Hilary Jones on his MBE. Much deserved by him and all the other medics and Covid heroes in the list.’
Dr Hilary Jones has been nowhere near the front line of this pandemic at any time - but he has shown people how to wear a face mask correctly (ffs!), and advised TV presenter Kate Garraway to call an ambulance when her husband fell ill with coronavirus, so perhaps that qualifies him as a hero in Martin Lewis’ world!
And although I am unable to find any record of his having worked as a GP this century, Hilary Jones apparently practices 'aesthetic medicine’ - cosmetic surgery, which is NOT medicine.
Coincidentally, listed under his General Medical Council (GMC) registration, the revalidation officer for Dr Hilary Robert Jones is Dr Philip Dobson at British College of Aesthetic Medicine BCAM.
'BCAM is a Designated Body under the regulations and for members who do not have a prescribed connection to another Designated Body with a higher position in the regulation’s hierarchy BCAM is able to manage their revalidation and appraisal. Full Members and Associate Members with an appropriate prescribed connection can connect to BCAM as their Designated Body.
Doctors who use the Revalidation service are required to pay annual appraisal and revalidation fees...'
For the last four years Dr Hilary Jones has been lucratively paid to promote Optical Express (some of you will have watched the Judas goat’s consent video before giving your eyes to OE’s chopping block), giving the impression that he had his eyes operated on at Optical Express.*
Hilary had 'blended laser eye surgery’ at London Vision Clinic (by Dr Dan Reinstein, who made a fool of himself on This Morning, posted 18 Oct 2019), yet all YouTube videos and anything connecting him to LVC - gone!
We exchanged emails in 2013, when I criticised Hilary for his unfettered advertising of laser eye surgery, providing him with plenty of information, and his reply included: 'I take on board your comments and totally understand your desire to give the public reliable information.’
(Search 'Hilary Jones’ on tabs above to read more of our correspondence.)
26 February 2017, I wrote to Hilary again...
'I am very concerned to hear that you recently recorded the new 'informed consent video' for Optical Express. [replacing Dr Steven Schallhorn following his defection to Zeiss]
Firstly, is this ethical given that your surgery was performed by Reinstein?
Secondly, have you not read the many press reports about Optical Express, and countless horror stories on #OERML website forum? All true and just the tip of the iceberg!
Are you aware that Optical Express now refuse aftercare to damaged patients after 12 months - not even providing badly needed eye drops?
Are you aware that it is costing nhs.uk £millions to provide aftercare and reparative operations (when possible) to many thousands of people damaged by Optical Express? As a practising GP (according to Wikipedia) surely this must be of concern to you.
You say on your website, "I’ve always believed people should discover and learn as much as they possibly can about themselves and about their conditions. But, it’s vital that the information is reliable and accurate".
Your informed consent video for OE most definitely does not provide reliable and accurate facts!'
The next day I wrote to his manager, Kim Chapman...
'1. Does Hilary believe that he is behaving ethically by providing Optical Express with services that will help persuade people to undergo refractive eye surgery with this corrupt and unregulated company?
2. Given that he cannot now deny knowledge of the fact that many thousands of people have been damaged by Optical Express, and that there are hundreds of legal claims in progress against the company and the majority of their surgeons (others settled out of court), is he still prepared to allow them to use what is unarguably his seal of approval?'
3 October 2017, I emailed Hilary...
'Referring to the OE patient consent video - which features you extolling their virtues - in answer to my question, a representative told me that you’d had eye surgery at OE.
I can only assume that your previous ops with Dan Reinstein were subsequently unsuccessful, hence explaining the removal of your video as I questioned in my (as yet unanswered) email below.
The OE rep advised me to google your name to find details of your ‘experience’ with the company, but oddly I’m unable to find any such info online.
I’d therefore appreciate it if you would be kind enough to let me know the name of the OE surgeon who performed your surgery, and when it was performed.
In addition, can you also direct me to the relevant web page(s) detailing your experience with Optical Express.
I look forward to your earliest reply.
No response - other than blocking me on his Twitter page for asking awkward questions!
As I’ve said before, Hilary Jones would no doubt promote Catnip as a cure for cancer if someone offered him enough money!
Google "Dan Reinstein Hilary Jones” to see links to deleted videos and articles.
*Complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority that this video is misleading and should clearly state that Dr Hilary Jones did not have surgery at Optical Express but is paid to endorse the company.
|03 Oct 2020 09:44 #560|
Optical Express stooping to a whole new low level! They have been contacting those they have made redundant and practically begging them to return as they have left certain clinics very short staffed and struggling to cope with the patients stupidly walking through this companies doors!
This is a company that didn’t have to make those redundancies, they could’ve kept the staff on furlough before deciding who was surplus to requirements and now they have the brass neck to ask those staff to return.
Bring on the GOC hearing, I hope it’s a fair one and not decided by ‘money’.
|29 Sep 2020 23:16 #559|
I’m really glad I found this website its shed some new light for me regarding laser eye surgery. Thank you!
I had my consultation at OE a few weeks ago and was given the green light for surgery, but I have been on the fence because I’m so anxious about the endless things that could go wrong so I never booked in for the surgery. I suffer from dry eyes and am aware this could get much worse with lasik unsure why I have been given the go ahead for surgery even when this has been highlighted when carrying out the tests in the consultation.
Reading people’s stories on this website and the huge problems they are dealing with now because of this surgery has definitely made me appreciate what I have now. I hope all of you who have been effected recover over time from this 🙏🏻
One of the questions in OE’s health questionnaire is if I would like glares and halos but still have good distance vision. Absolutely not, I know something like this would be really hard for me to adjust to.
I asked myself is wearing glasses and contacts really getting in the way of my own lifestyle, not at all. If you’re thinking about laser eye surgery you should ask yourself this too.
My personal opinion I just don’t think the risks are worth it, I believe those who had theirs done with no problems are just lucky (like winning the lottery) I won’t gamble with my eyes. The success statistics are so vague with no in-depth meaning. I also understand lasik is not forever your eyes will deteriorate over time naturally anyways.
I’d choose seeing comfortably with glasses and contacts how I am now than getting lasik and experiencing potentially devastating problems to my eye and mental health.
admin: It is always rewarding to have acknowledgment that the continuing battle to publicise and warn people of the serious risks of this unregulated surgery is worthwhile.