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Ruined Eyesight 13 Aug 2014 19:18 #251

  • Michael Sainsbury
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After having lenses fitted to my left eye on the 8th May 2013 and the right eye a week later I had blurred vision and told this normally goes in one to two weeks. But no change after two weeks, then told it could take six weeks. No change after six weeks and I was sent to Harley St for a CT scan.

They told me there was no problem, even though I had severe ghosting, extreme glare from lights and blurred vision, which lasted for about four hours after I’d been working all day. (I’m a tattoo artist) They told me that my surgeon (Dr Jan Venter) had said I need Pilocarpine drops - but he hadn’t even examined me. They had none in stock so posted these to me, with no usage instructions included and I'm not sure that’s legal. At the clinic they’d just told me to use when my vision was bad.

I remember clearly, literally just before starting the first op, Jan Venter saying to me, 'Why do want to ruin your beautiful eyes', and then he laughed. I thought it was his sense of humour.

Every time I phoned to say my vision was still bad they just sent out more Pilocarpine. I used these most days for about four to five months, even though they gave me terrible headaches and made me feel quite depressed. I didn’t really have a choice as this was the only way to get my vision to a point where I could drive home from work.

In January 2014 I went back to Harley St to complain about the blurred vision and glare and was seen by Dimitri Kazakos. He suggested Yag laser to reduce the glare in the left eye, but after this procedure it was worse. Kazakos then told me it can take up to a year and a half for the eyes to heal properly. So OE have changed the healing time from two weeks, to three months, to six months, a year, and now a year and a half!

It is now obvious to me that my eyes have been damaged.

In June I went to Harley St and had a heated discussion with Dimitri Kazakos who said there was nothing wrong with my eyes. When I asked to have the lenses removed, he said that might make my eyesight worse.

When I had my first consult with the optometrist at Optical Express in High Wycombe she said only 1 in 200 people had problems with the is procedure! She also told me the healing time was one week, but when I pushed her on this she said maybe two weeks. Actually I was off for a month. She also told me I would lose about 10% of my long distance vision, another lie as I have lost my intermediate vision.

When I asked her what would happen if there was a problem she told that they would remove the lenses and my eyesight would return to what it was before the op. I now know this is not possible as until yesterday no-one had ever explained to me that my natural lenses would be removed for this procedure.

I have also frighteningly discovered that I may be stuck with this lens as they are sometimes impossible to remove after having YAG laser!

After complaining at least twenty times I have still not been seen by the operating surgeon Jan Venter. It is now fifteen months since my surgery and the blurred vision, glare and ghosting is no better.

Optical Express have ruined my eyes. I was completely mis-sold these lenses and I have no intention of letting Optical Express get away with it.

Ruined Eyesight 13 Aug 2014 14:10 #252

  • Paul G
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Like others who have commented here I was also mis-sold IOLs. Since then I've had YAG and Lasik with poor results. I only wish I had seen this site prior to being sold a product that not only did I not need, but a product that has given me inferior vision.

I only needed glasses for close work previously and my eyes were healthy and comfortable, I was sold IOLs based on the promise that they would rid me of glasses and give me good near vision, I was not told that they would ruin my intermediate vision and cause problems with low energy or flourescent lighting. When I enter a shop or hospital with fluorescent lighting my quality of vision instantly drops by 50%. I now have 2 pairs of reading glasses at different strengths so I can see at near and intermediate vision by switching between them.

After IOLs were fitted I had poor vision and had to wait months before getting YAG treatment on both eyes. Months later, still with poor vision, I had Lasik on my right eye. At the post op check up the next day I found out that OE somehow screwed up and over corrected causing me to be completely short sighted in my right eye. This caused me headaches and night driving was horrendous. I then had to wait 4 months for another Lasik correction on the eye to get normal vision. I've been left with completely random vision in different lighting, sensitivity to light that requires me to wear sunglasses whenever outside, dry eyes that no amount of drops tried so far has any lasting effect, and blurring due to floaters.

I now realise that OE cannot do anything for me and have pretty much lied to me from day one. They constantly fob me off with different drops that have not worked and I have complained about my poor eyesight in different lighting only to be told that this is a known problem with the type of lens I have (Lentis MPlus). I would never have had them fitted if I had been told that at the start.

OE are only interested in your money, they have no concern for your welfare and no concern that they are damaging peoples eyesight.

I have suffered pain, anxiety, depression - all caused by OE and I'm struggling to come to terms with it all. I'm so angry with myself for being duped into getting IOLs in the first place.
I just hope people come across this site before considering a visit to OE and stay well clear.

All my treatments and follow ups were done at Glasgow and Edinburgh.

To all others in this forum in the same situation as me - thanks for sharing your experiences, this does somehow help me come to terms with it a little.

I have my medical file from OE and am considering legal action.

Dr Andre Oberholster told me I'm going blind! 07 Aug 2014 20:15 #253

  • Polly
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Update to my last post on 10 July.

I had been told by Dr Andre Oberholster that I was going blind and it was down to a gene that Mike Lavin found in February. Then he denied saying it.

After waiting for the appointment for a tortuous 2 months I went to an ndependent consultant . He said that he couldn't see much evidence of this gene and that it certainly was not responsible for my sight loss since the lens replacement surgery in December!!!


Still nothing from Optical Express. We are left guessing what they intend to do about this whole sorry mess while thye srtill expect me to make the Hitachi payments!

My life has indeed been ruined by Optical Express :(

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 06 Aug 2014 16:14 #254

  • Robin
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On the Optical Express website, 200 St Vincent Street Glasgow would now appear to offer lens surgery treatments. I presume the Giffnock advanced eye care clinic is therefore no longer needed.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 06 Aug 2014 09:39 #255

  • wondering
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Does the Special Clinic at Giffnock still exist ? Are lens treatments by Optical Express now only carried out in Edinburgh?

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 25 Jul 2014 20:50 #256

  • Robin
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Lorna, I had my first RLE procedure at Optical Express in Giffnock, quite a few years ago now, but the paperwork I received was all headed 'Bridgewater Hospital'.

So imagine my confusion on arriving to discover it was like an opticians shop unit! By the time I had my second eye done, more than a year later, due to the disappointing result of my first eye, the Princess Street facility was up and running and I thought it really impressive: well equipped, spacious and well laid out. Strange that Giffnock is still up and running after all this time, whilst Princess Street has gone.

I find this sad, but Giffnock is clearly cheaper to run than an expensive prime location in the Capital City.

I strongly advise that you seek a second opinion from a 'high end' provider that is consultant lead. This will mean a trip down south, and London is where I went.

I will forever regret that I did not do this sooner and suffered a prolonged course of treatment and much suffering as a result.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 25 Jul 2014 14:02 #257

  • Lorna, Scotland
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I was 45 years old and just starting to get to the stage where I needed my glasses to go to the supermarket etc and to read a book, newspaper etc. I was also starting to have to wear them at work to read reports etc. Problems was I found I could not concentrate properly at work whilst wearing them. I was too aware of them on my face. And I was constantly misplacing them.

A work colleague of mine had laser eye surgery and said it was great, no more glasses. So I made an appointment to go to Optical Express for an assessment.

I was examined by a boy of around 20 who looked at my eyes and said I was not suitable for laser surgery - BUT I was suitable for Lens replacement surgery (RLE). He explained this would mean I would NEVER - even as an old lady, have to wear glasses as the results were permanent. He also added that I could get this operation on the NHS, but they do not offer the multifocal option that OE do, only a mono lens, so choosing Optical Express would mean my long and short sight would be perfect again.

He explained that the operations on each eye would take place 7 days apart. This all sounded fantastic so I signed up and paid my deposit.

I watched a video that used an awful lot of technical phrases and the upshot was that it said I might have blurry vision for a little while after my surgery but this improves and in the majority of cases my eyesight will be improved as soon as the post-surgery patch was removed.

It sounds so naive now but I was so excited and couldn’t wait to ditch my glasses. I even opted to have the surgery on my birthday as I was so keen to have it done. I went for various tests at Glasgow and they all said I was a perfect candidate for the surgery.

On the day of the surgery I was through at the special clinic in Giffnock by 9.00am and the waiting room was full of people just like me. someone put some drops in my eye and I was to wait for my turn. I was then asked to sign a disclaimer form AFTER my eyes drops were in: I had to ask a nurse to show me where to sign as I couldn’t see the form, or what it said.

The surgery process was like a cattle market, one in and one out, recovery in a very public waiting room with no privacy.

The surgery went fine, no pain or discomfort and I went home with instructions to remove the patch late afternoon. I did this to find to my horror I could not see out of my eye properly. I had severe double vision – so bad the distance between the objects was huge. I panicked and put the patch back on.

The following day my double vision was still very extreme and I phoned OE for advice. I was told not to worry – it would settle down. As the week wore on, my double vision remained very bad, I had to take the week off work as I couldn’t drive.

I then became worried about having my second eye done. If the same thing happened with my second eye I would be severely visually impaired. I asked for an emergency appointment with OE to discuss it, the day before I was scheduled to have my second eye done. They looked at my eye and assured me it would settle down and there was no reason not to have the second procedure.

I was through at the clinic at Giffnock very early the next morning and spoke to the surgeon re my concerns – I was very distressed and crying. He said because I was so upset about the possibility of something going wrong he wouldn’t do the surgery. I spent less than 5 minutes with him. I was then taken out and put back in the very public waiting room to await my return lift obviously very upset. Not one person asked me if I was okay or even if I needed a tissue or a glass of water. I felt (and still do) that I had made the worst mistake of my life.

The next few months was a roller coaster of problems with them. I asked lots of questions to which I received no answers. I could not drive in the dark – my surgery was December, so this affected my work as I have to drive at night. Calls were not returned when they were promised and all they did was send me endless tubes of eye drops which I didn’t need. I was given a contact lens to wear in my operated eye as this was meant to make my sight better and reduce the glare and double vision. They made it worse.

They said they had given me the wrong one and issued replacements – same results. They said they would give me glasses – if I chose the basic NHS value ones. The glasses made no difference. I've had so many eye tests I have lost count. The person doing the eye tests told me he was very upset – I thought he meant for me but he meant for himself, being stuck in the middle of my problem and the surgeon and he was the one who had to deal with me!!!

My GP was so concerned he referred me to the hospital for a check-up. They said the surgery was not the right one for me and that I had not been given enough information and that I would have been suitable for the laser surgery. They also said it was against the law for me to sign the disclaimer on the day of my surgery with drops in my eyes. The doctor said I could take legal action but to persevere with them and demand an independent consultation at their expense.

Eventually, after I told them the NHS were involved I was offered a meeting with the surgeon who was much nicer that day and explained he had more time to talk to me and said my options were to have the lens removed and a mono lens put in OR I could have the other eye done and hope it would resolve itself when both eyes were the same. He said there was some risk involved in removing the lens. Not an option for me.

He did however confirm that I WAS a suitable candidate for laser treatment which was what I'd originally asked for. He could not answer why the boy at my initial consultation tricked me into lens replacement. My answer to that is that it is around 3 times the price.

He agreed that it was a paper exercise giving me contact lenses and glasses as they do not help me – I do not have a prescription. My options are very limited and I still now nearly 8 months after surgery still have bad blurring, double vision and still cannot drive at night. He did give me drops to help with night driving and could not explain why no-one had offered them before? I feel I have been given false hope after false hope, they just want me to shut up and go away.

I now suffer from depression and cry constantly at my frustration at not being able to see clearly. I wear make-up and now need a magnifying mirror to apply it as I cannot see properly. I have no glasses to help me read and use a magnifying glass . I have my phone on large font and still cannot read labels etc when shopping. I am dreading the winter when I will not be able to drive at night again. My eye feels as if it is covered in a greasy film all the time and feels swollen and is frequently bloodshot. I have to blink repeatedly to ‘clear ‘ my vision.

Sorry this is so long – it feels good to be finally sharing this awful episode with someone.


Optometrist V Ophthalmologist 18 Jul 2014 21:16 #258

  • heres the thing
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The essence of Optical Express is that it is run by optometrists. The OE ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) carry out the surgery, but It is the optometrists who undertake the assessment of patients' suitability for treatment, also responsible for their aftercare.

As has previously been mentioned on this forum, there is a financial reward for the optometrists and sales "counsellors" for each patient put forward as suitable and signed up for treatment. Their job descriptions require: "excellent influencing skills". Premium treatments pay more - eg: RLE

The Clinical Director of Optical Express (Stephen Hannan) is an OPTOMETRIST - not an ophthalmologist. Therefore do not expect to receive the same attention to detail and direct access to a consultant ophthalmologist as you would get at a clinician run clinic.

If you develop problems you should - without argument, be seen by your operating surgeon, but with Optical Express's "model of care" (££) the surgeons will generally take the optoms assessment of that at face valiue and not even examine the patient!

RLE 18 Jul 2014 14:03 #259

  • Beverley T
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i had surgery in February this year and have been unable to drive at night since - daytime only as the double vision is too distracting and dangerous. I can also see the edge of the lens at night.
Was told that this was normal and should settle down - it is now July!!

After taking much time off work to visit the Optical Express clinic in Eastcheap, more than 10 visits, I asked each time if I could see Dr Jan Venter, the surgeon who operated on me. I was fobbed off again and again. I continued to complain until I was given an appointment at Harley Street in April with Barry Collins - he told me that he works closely with Dr Venter but I just discovered he is an optometrist, NOT a surgeon!

Barry Collins told me that it was best that I had the Mplus lens replaced with a single lens (next week). Again I asked if I could see Jan Venter before the explant - request declined!

How can Optical Express be allowed to treat people in this way :(
There does not seem to be any sense of responsibility or accountability from OE for those of us that are having problems with these ill fitting lenses. With such serious problems I should have seen the surgeon - not an optometrist!!!!

Please leave your eyes as they are!

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 17 Jul 2014 07:40 #260

  • Shabir
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Just heard the BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates report on eye surgery from your My Beautiful Eyes website, wish I had heard it before I had my procedure. Life changing indeed, ruined my eyes!!!