It'll be six years this weekend (24/11/2012), the date my life was ruined forever by Optimax.
The past 6 years have been a constant daily battle dealing with the discomfort, blurred vision, eye strain, depression... you name it
I was 100% happier in my glasses & contacts, and I was fooled into thinking that laser eye surgery would make me happier and life easier.
It's a very lonely place when you are the victim of damaged eyes, as trying to get the correct help is verging on the impossible. It's a way of life I have sadly had to accept, and I keep how I feel to myself much of the time.
Russell Ambrose & Optimax, you will never know the severity of what you have done to me. Nor do you care.
I just hope that anyone reading this considering eye surgery will steer well clear.
Given their offer of free surgery for ‘digital influencers’, and your refusal to allow any negative comments about this company on your page, did you receive an incentive from Optimax in return for your blog?
If the answer is no, then why are you refusing to publish honest comments from damaged patients?'
No reply, so I sent a second email two days later...
Your response to my previous email would be appreciated, if only out of courtesy.
Meanwhile, if you have received any incentive from Optimax, you should disclose this on your blog.’
A few days later I revisited her blog and found this...
More fool Rosalyn Ellis if she wasn’t paid, while Russell Ambrose will be thrilled if it was a freebie, given that he has a phobia about parting with money, one that I do my utmost to help him overcome - I hate to see anyone suffering!
But no matter if paid or not, Ms Ellis has indisputably written an advertorial: according to the Cambridge Dictionary definition, 'an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine that is designed to look like an article by the writers of the magazine’.
Coincidentally, an email received by a journalist on 18 October was forwarded to me last week, from 'Colewood Internet Ltd’, on behalf of Optimax.
'Subject: Free Vision Correction Surgery for Journalists at Optimax'
The exact same message was sent as a press release in January 2018!
Of course they had no serious takers, presumably because any journalist worth their salt would research this subject in depth before putting their eyes and reputation on the line.
And I doubt that Optimax’s publicised lifetime bond to Sasha Rodoy and inextricable link to OERML is a good advertisement either!
But just in case any of you crazy fun loving devil may care journalists out there are prepared to throw caution to the wind, say 'what the hell, who cares that I’ve only got one pair of eyes, let’s give it a go!', Krina Desai is now the person to contact, because after 10 years of keeping secrets, James Seton left Optimax in October.
Glad to help out Russell, and I'll even share details with the CQC, GMC, and RCOphth
I read it with dismay, and called the author, Rosalyn Ellis, who was 'smitten with laser technology'.
I told her who I am, what I do, that I'd had surgery at Optimax, explained my concerns with what she had written, and suggested it would be educational for her to do some further research.
Her hackles up, obviously unhappy with my verbal critique, she told me that she didn't like be called in this way, to which I replied, then perhaps she shouldn’t advertise her phone number on her website
Nearing the end of our conversation - I did most of the talking - she told me that she had no intention of taking down her blog, which I hadn’t asked her to do by the way, and I subsequently posted the following comment on her page...
"My eyes were irreparably and seriously damaged entirely as a result of laser eye surgery @ Optimax in February 2011.
Discovering that I was far from being a ‘rare case', as Optimax owner Russell Ambrose initially told me, in January 2012 I launched My Beautiful Eyes Foundation, a patient advocacy service and campaign calling for regulation of the refractive eye surgery industry - there is none!
Since which time I have continued to work closely with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to this end, while a string of health ministers claim there’s no problem in copy/paste letters spanning 7 years, and the government turn a blind eye [sic] to the many thousands of damaged patients forced to rely on the NHS for treatment, because providers like Optimax refuse to provide aftercare after 12 months.
You say that you are not endorsing Optimax or 'specific surgeons', and though you mention the quoted cost you don't mention whether in fact you paid for your surgery. However, as this is most definitely an advertorial, for both Optimax and Amir Hamid, and you a copywriter, can you please advise whether or not you did pay for your surgery?
And for your information, still owned by Optimax boss Russell Ambrose, Dr Amir Hamid worked at Ultralase until relocating to Optegra.
The statistics quoted by Optimax - and all other providers - are lies, e.g. ‘In the hands of an experienced surgeon, the chance of having a complication leading to a worsening of vision is around 1 in 1,000.’
Published by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, this info was provided by refractive surgeons, who make a VERY lucrative living from these ops: the NHS, press, etc…, regurgitate such unsubstantiated stats, accepting them as fact without any actual evidence!!
Since launching My Beautiful Eyes Foundation, I have been contacted by many thousands of damaged patients, and they keep on coming. Go figure that statistic!
'I’m a level-headed person, so I am more persuaded by scientific facts* and the opinions of people I know and trust than the rantings of people with an axe to grind.’** *Scientific facts according to the industry! There is NO data available that reflects the incredibly high numbers damaged by refractive surgery - incl laser and lens exchange. **And to describe complaints from people left permanently damaged by this unregulated industry as ‘rantings' is horrifying and beyond insulting!
I suggest that you do some research, look at OERML website forum, watch a few OERML YouTube videos - esp ‘Can I go blind…’ - and then see if you feel comfortable repeating your words!!
'Fortunately I managed to gain control of my mind by focusing on the image of my beautiful baby daughter’s face in the minutes after she had been born in a surgery room like this.’
So many damaged fathers unable to witness the birth of their babies in similar surgery rooms, often because of severe light sensitivity - Google 'Greg Brady Accuvision’!
'I also concluded that if the surgeons were really as bad as the vocal grudge-bearing contingent were saying, then they would have been struck off for medical negligence, which clearly was not the case.’
Not so simple Rosalyn!
Protecting their fee paying members, I have dozens of decision letters from the GMC following investigations into complaints from damaged patients, stating that, although the surgeons had not operated to the standard expected from a consultant surgeon, the case is closed with no action taken!
Even though my surgeon was provably negligent, the same decision was made re my complaint.
'Indeed, my assigned surgeon, Dr Amir Abdul Hamid, had a vast amount of eye surgery experience in both private practice and the NHS.’ I suggest that you ask Dr Hamid how many complaints, and how many legal claims he's had from damaged patients.
As for 'grudge bearing', you were lucky, but I have no doubt that had your eyes been irreparably damaged, you would also be grinding your axe!
There’s so much more I could write but not enough time, way too busy fighting this corrupt industry and trying to help those damaged by it, and I can only trust that you will allow my comment in order to balance your failure to address the very serious risks of this unregulated surgery.
And whilst I note that there are few comments from readers, just one patient damaged because of your glowing and irresponsible promotion of this risky surgery is one too many!
To anyone reading this considering refractive eye surgery, please google ‘Sasha Rodoy' & ‘OERML'.
And if you have any doubt about any of my claims, ask yourself why has no-one ever attempted to sue me for libel and/or slander?”
In the last paragraph of her blog, Rosalyn Ellis claims, 'I don’t want to give any sense that I’m endorsing Optimax or specific surgeons, or generally the industry surrounding laser eye surgery, which after all is not essential surgery. Anyone contemplating this procedure really needs to understand the statistical possibility of complications, and decide for themselves if they want to risk it.’
What absolute nonsense! Ms Ellis has written a blanket endorsement of Optimax - AND a specific surgeon, and of course the industry by association!
As for, ‘statistical possibility of complications’. Do please tell which statistics these would be Ms Ellis?
And did she publish my comment you wonder?
Don’t be silly - as if she'd allow facts to stand in the way of a damned good advertorial!
Optimax/Ultralase boss Russell Ambrose has never suggested that they 'manage' my chronic dry eyes and MGD after much regretted laser eye surgery at Optimax in 2011.
Checking out what miracle they were advertising, I was not surprised to find no mention of laser eye surgery as one of the recognised common causes of dry eyes.
I completed the online form, ticking the 'DRY EYE & BLEPHARITIS' box to specify that this was my only treatment interest.
Imagine my amusement when I received an on-screen acknowledgement that their customer service team would be in touch, to guide me 'towards a life free from glasses or contact lenses'.
Then I received an email saying, 'Our expert staff are ready to answer any questions you may have regarding our life-changing treatments'.
ROTFLMAO - my laser eye surgery at Optimax was certainly that!
And as for 'Lifetime aftercare guarantee', while I do have this, it's only thanks to my settlement agreement with Russell Ambrose, whereas the same can't be said for so many damaged Optimax and Ultralase patients, left to suffer for the rest of their lives without any aftercare!
How about offering Dry Eye Management treatment to some of your damaged patients Russell, starting with the ones you won't even provide with free eye drops?
I tested the online application a few times, in case there was a glitch, but each time the response came back the same!
Try it yourself, and take screenshots, as I believe this is a complaint for the ASA!
Not forgetting the fact that pre existing dry eye disease/syndrome is a contraindication for laser eye surgery, so this is totally irresponsible and reprehensible advertising!
I trialled MiBo Thermoflo treatment in 2016, and cannot recommend it at all. Described as massage, pressure is applied to the surface of the closed eyelid - a painful experience if your eyes are super sensitive to touch after surgery. I suffered through the first treatment just so I could review it, but it made no difference whatsoever.
Whereas LipiFlow certainly helps me, but to alleviate the pain and irritation caused by MGD I need it every few months, and it is VERY expensive!
Please note that this a temporary fix, and doesn’t work for everyone.
I noted that Optimax/Ultralase boss Russell Ambrose has also added cosmetic eye surgery to his company's list of specialities, which in my opinion is likely to confuse or mislead unwitting customers discussing laser or lens exchange!
*I rely on people to send me info like this, so please don't assume I already know.
Anon wrote: Whistle-blowing reviews about Beata McManus, Optimax CEO. The WHOLE of Head Office staff boycotting the 2017 Optimax Xmas party.
"The most intriguing aspect of it all is how this person even became a CEO as her knowledge for most areas of a business is quiet frankly rubbish."
Imagine a very rich & married man in his 4Os pops in a local supermarket near his office where he spies a pretty blond Polish girl in her early 20s on the checkout till. Mr Rich married man has wandering eyes & starts an affair with Polish Checkout Girl. He gives her a job over the road in his business & clever Polish Checkout Girl gets herself pregnant !! Mr Rich won’t put a ring on her finger but agrees to support her & the baby.
Polish Checkout Girl delivers a son & goes back to work for Mr Rich. Pillow talk dries up over the years but Polish Checkout Girl knows more about Mr Rich's businesses & private life than any of his his wives ever do & she climbs over bodies the ladder to become CEO of Mr Rich's company.
Polish Checkout Girl is a [deleted] to lots of the female staff who keep leaving. Mr Rich knows this but he can’t ever get rid of Polish Checkout Girl because she knows too much about him & his company & Polish Checkout Girl has his balls in a vice.
Not sayimg Beata McManus did that but it’s one way a woman with No business knowledge can go from being a checkout girl to a CEO !!
I have lost count of the number of times I have attempted to post a review of Optimax with Trustpilot. Any time I do, my review is removed the next morning. I have repeatedly reworded them to make them less hard-hitting but that doesn't stop them being taken off the site.
People look to review sites like Trustpilot to draw conclusions and make decisions about these procedures. I find it disgusting that it appears to be virtually impossible to post a review of Optimax that is less than favourable.
Below is the latest response from Trustpilot in e-mail form, followed by my reply. I take it others have had the same issue.
Dear G ******,
As part of Trustpilot’s efforts to ensure that reviews always reflect genuine buying or service experiences, we use advanced, customized software to detect unusual review patterns.
Your review of
has been flagged by our software or our Compliance Team because we’ve been unable to verify the authenticity of it. That means we’ve removed your review from our platform. Note that it’s not deleted, but it’s no longer visible online and won’t count towards the rating of
If you believe that there has been a misunderstanding, you’re welcome to contact our Compliance Team by replying to this email. We’re always happy to help.
If you have any questions, please see the information available in our Support Center.
Dear Trustpilot Compliance
I can assure you that my review reflected genuine experience. I find it disgraceful the way I have been continually blocked from posting an honest review of Optimax. It appears unless one posts a favourable review of the company, the review is removed. Laser eye surgery, I have found is a dangerous procedure and therefore to not allow bad reviews of a company carrying out such a procedure is in my opinion, reprehensible behaviour.
To say that you have "used advanced customized software" to detect unusual review patterns is obviously to allow you to remove such reviews, and clear recognition on your behalf that your review process is biased. At least you acknowledge it.
You say that my review "has been flagged by our software or our Compliance Team because we've been unable to verify the authenticity of it." I am therefore authentifying it with this e-mail. It is ridiculous that I am expected to jump through hoops, continually rewording my reviews, yet still having them repeatedly removed and then have to e-mail you simply in order to post a bad review about this company. If I had posted a favourable review, would I be required to go to such lengths? I doubt it very much.
You point out that the review is not deleted but is not visible online and won't count towards Optimax's rating. In that case, it might as well have been deleted. The whole point is that it can be visible online and count towards their rating.
And bearing in mind that my life has been ruined by the actions of Optimax, to include an advert for them in your e-mail was a real kick in the teeth and another indication of clear bias.