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My world turned upside down thanks to Optimax 03 Apr 2022 13:56 #1

  • Fairyqueen
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In August 2007 I paid Optimax who sent me to a Nuffield private hospital in Wolverhampton to have an ICL implanted in one of my eyes by Dr Jan Venter. A week later I went through the same procedure on my other eye.
I was ecstatic as the next day I could see clearly after years of wearing glasses. My prescription pre op was -12.75, so even the little things like being able to read the labels of the shampoo and conditioner bottles meant so much to me. I could go swimming without being guided and I could enjoy going to the gym and dancing. I could see my kids when they awoke in the night and play with them without the fear of my glasses being broken.
I was told that my implants were for life and that I would only need them taking out if my prescription significantly changed. I thought it was the best decision I had ever made and went about my life.
Fast forward to 2nd April 2022 when my world was turned upside down - and now it's the worst decision I ever made!
In 2016 I received a letter from Optimax saying I needed to go for a check up and an endothelial cell count check.
After paying £50 for this appointment I made my way to Leicester and was in there less than 5 minutes. I was told that everything was OK and that my eyes were healthy. I was never told the importance of these checks, and they hadn’t been mentioned to me in 2007 by Optimax or the surgeon Dr Jan Venter, and to be honest it seemed like a money making scheme.
I heard nothing more from Optimax until late 2021 when I received an email and a telephone call inviting me to make an appointment for another ECC in Leicester. I told them that Covid had hit my family hard and we struggling for money so couldn’t afford to pay for this and travel to Leicester.
I was then constantly bombarded with telephone calls from a woman who was rather rude and spoke down to me like I was a child. She said they would do the ECC at a lower price of £35 and then they lowered it to £25. She called me again and said that the optometrist needed to see me because he was concerned that my cell count was low in 2016 - news to me because they didn’t say a word at the time!
Because of this and the lower price I made the appointment and attended on Saturday 2nd April 2022.
I had the ECC done and was then told that I needed to have my right implant explanted ASAP!
The optician said my cell count in 2007 was around 2500, around 2000 in 2016, my right eye now around 1510, and my left eye around 1800.
He said I could wear a contact lens afterwards and a few months later I would need the left lens explanted. I could then go back to wearing contact lenses and glasses.
I was in shock and disbelief as I was told these ICLs were for life.
I was given a patient information leaflet and I noticed that it said you can't wear a contact lens until at least 3-4 weeks after having the implants removed, meaning I wouldn't be able to drive, so how was I supposed to get to work, and I have kids? When I pointed this out he just laughed and said oh so you have read that bit then.
I was then told that they could provide RLE surgery instead, as the lenses sit differently in the eye so it would be better. When I went for the original consultation for ICLs they told me then that this was a cataract operation and I wouldn't get cataracts due to the implants, so to hear that RLE was actually the cataract procedure shocked me. He said they would be reluctant to do the this until I was 50 due to the risk of the retina becoming detached. I asked how much it would cost and I was told around £3000. I was told to go home and digest the information I had been given and then give them a call to arrange an appointment to have them explanted.
I left Optimax and just burst into tears. When I got home I called Optimax and asked if it was a definite no to having the RLE procedure done before 50, and he said I would have to have a chat with a surgeon and that his receptionist could arrange that. I also asked again how much it cost and was told £3000. I then asked is that per eye, and he said yes, and when I said there was no way I could afford that he said that if I went ahead then he could speak to head office and ask them for a discount.
I feel like my life has been turned upside down and had I been made aware of this possibility occurring I would not have gone ahead with this procedure.
Would I recommend Optimax? NEVER!
Optimax ruined my life and have done nothing to try and rectify it other than try and get more money out of me.
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Optimax Demo 09 Mar 2022 21:30 #2

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Yesterday’s demo outside Optimax Eye Surgery Specialists in Finchley Road yielded mostly positive responses from those we spoke to, not only those attending consultations, but also passers by who’d been thinking about it - not any more :kiss:

On his way out after a consultation for #lasereyesurgery, one man stopped to ask us questions, and said he’d been pressured to have lens replacement (RLE) instead, but he'd told the sales person that he wanted to do more research before booking, so we helpfully listed some of the risks that had not been explained to him.

He asked if it was just Optimax he should avoid, but we told him no, all refractive surgery providers, the risks are the same no matter where.

Needing his lenses explanted, and in litigation himself, I left it to fellow campaigner Leigh Stace to explain his own problems after RLE (that he should never have been sold at the age of 46!), and other serious problems suffered by so many people, including retinal detachment, and I think his mind was then made up not to go ahead.

But then came along a man in his mid forties, not interested in stopping to talk, as he cantered up the steps to his fate, said he’d seen the sign, and - I quote: ‘It’s a matter of opinion’!

I'm not often left speechless, but I think my jaw literally dropped at the sheer ignorance and stupidity of his comment.

Had he stuck around to discuss, I'd have asked how he could possibly consider it to be ‘a matter of opinion’ that there are unarguably many thousands of people left with irreparably damaged vision, who’ve lost their jobs, relationships, even their lives, all a result of unregulated refractive eye surgery?

I accept that everyone has a right to make up their own minds - about any issue, but unless you listen to both sides of an argument, and exercise due diligence, then you are uninformed… and in my opinion, when facts and detailed information is served on a plate, as at our demos, you have no right to later complain should you be one of the unlucky ones!

I sure wish someone like me had been around to warn me of the truth before my #lasereyesurgery, because I was already doubtful, and it wouldn’t have taken much at all to change my mind!

I love this photo, taken on 13 November 2021, the first Saturday demo we’ve ever done, and being a weekend Russell Ambrose hadn’t been warned by his staff that we were there.

And to explain that I wasn't stalking him, his Finchley Road apartment is only a few minutes walk away from #Optimax, the entry door adjacent to a coffee shop we regularly frequent, and it was sheer coincidence that as I exited with coffees in hand, there was Russell coming out with his unidentified lady friend immediately in front of me!

I was about to say hello, but as he hadn’t seen me, almost spilling the coffees, I managed to quickly call Leigh, who captured this image as Russell approached and spotted the OptimaxRuinedMyLife.net banner.



A picture paints a thousand words!

Most amusing was the reaction of his lady friend, who stopped to step back and gape at the banner in astonishment - literally with her mouth open, while Russell hurriedly walked ahead with his head down, pretending he couldn’t see the banner or protestors.

I'd love to have heard the conversation that followed!
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Optimax Patients 05 Mar 2022 15:42 #3

  • Rob
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So I had an initial consultation at Optimax in Manchester earlier this week, thought I'd read a few reviews online before making any final decisions, and have ended up here....and glad I did by the looks of it!

I was told I was borderline suitable for Lasik, but definitely suitable for Lasek, and was offered a choice of either Radwan Almousa or Dr Jan Grzeszkowiak to perform the surgery....has anyone here ever heard of them?

And are there any companies that you would actually recommend? Or is the message to stay away from laser eye surgery full stop?
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Dr Tariq Saboor at Optimax 01 Mar 2022 18:47 #4

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As I expected, Gavin's case was settled this morning - and with no NDA included in the agreement he is free to speak out :kiss:



Whilst he doesn’t want the amount he accepted publicised, Gavin is fine with me telling you that the last offer his lawyers refused on his behalf yesterday evening was £250,000.

But although his legal team served him well, encouraging him to hold out when being offered insultingly low amounts (a few firms I have previously named and shamed would've pushed him to accept a third of what he's ended up with), no amount of money can ever fix Gavin's eyes, or stop the painful and depressing results of refractive eye surgery that he now suffers, including extreme dry eyes and MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction).

The image above and following details are taken from the legal pleadings (statement of claim) submitted to the court, and please note that I have edited some of the the legal terminology in square brackets to make it less confusing!

'She [Optimax optometrist Malissa McWilliams] advised the Pursuer [Gavin] that he had “slightly dry eyes” but that he was still within the parameters for having both LASIK and LASEK surgery.'

'At the time [Gavin] presented before the said employee [Malissa McWilliams] on 22 December 2012 (and latterly on 23 March 2013, as hereinafter condescended upon) [Gavin] was suffering from blepharitis of the lid margins and an abnormal tear film. That he was suffering from said condition was or ought to have been ascertained upon any competent examination of [Gavin’s] eyes, especially in light of [Gavin] having answered “yes” to a question involving said condition in his initial (computer) questionnaire. Said employee [Malissa McWilliams] of “Optimax” did not explain to [Gavin] that he had blepharitis of the lid margins. She did not explain to [him] that he had an abnormal tear film. She did not advise [Gavin] that if he had laser eye surgery, in view of the fact that [he] had blepharitis of the lid margins and an abnormal tear film, he was at an increased risk of having significant and prolonged symptoms of dry eyes, compared to the average patient undergoing laser eye surgery.'


'On two occasions during the consultation, [Gavin] informed said employee [Malissa McWilliams] that his eyes were very sensitive to certain factors. On both occasions said employee [Malissa McWilliams] said that that didn’t matter.'

'She did not explain the meaning of the condition “dry eyes”. She did not explain that it was a recognised medical condition. She did not explain the symptoms of dry eyes.'

'During one of said telephone calls an employee (name unknown to the Pursuer) of “Optimax” offered [Gavin] a 50% discount on the price of the treatment.'

It's now 2022, and the same lack of fully informed consent and sales tactics from this sickening corrupt industry continues...
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Optimax patient goes to trial 28 Feb 2022 18:17 #5

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Nine years ago, on 23 March 2013, to his utmost regret, Gavin Beck underwent Lasik at Optimax Eye Surgery Specialists in Glasgow.



According to their advertising, Gavin’s operating surgeon, Dr Tariq Saboor, claims to have the best interests of his patients in mind - www.optimax.co.uk/surgeons/mr-tariq-saboor/ - yet as an Optimax damaged patient myself, I guarantee that neither he, nor company owner Russell Ambrose, give two hoots about the interests of the patients, money their only motivation!

This is the first medical negligence claim from an Optimax patient to get to trial (termed ‘proof’ in Scotland), as all previous claims have been settled out of court, my own included.

This is of course to avoid publicity, and often conditional on a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), so there is still a chance that this too will be settled before kick off.

However, in the event that it does proceed tomorrow, only the claimant, defendant, and their legal teams, are allowed to attend the Edinburgh court in person, but I'll be viewing remotely and will update as it continues :kiss:
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11 years ago - how it all began! 18 Feb 2022 17:26 #6

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This time 11 years ago today, also a Friday afternoon, I was nervously sitting in the very crowded and shabby waiting room at Optimax's Croydon branch, only five miunues away from ruining my life, the date sadly more memorable than my birthday :kiss:



My surgery scheduled at 2:00pm, but running late because of the high number of patients, I met the surgeon Wilbert Hoe for the first time that afternoon, albeit briefly.

At this late hour he contradicted what specs wearing optometrist Swati Malkan had told me at my consultation, that I was only suitable for Lasek, and gave me the option of Lasik!

Having only researched Lasek (PRK variation), I asked which he thought best for me, but he said it was up to me - without offering ANY information to help my decision, or - as he should have done, sending me away to have sufficient time to consider.

I really was panicking (already feeling like my dog when he visits the vet, paws sliding across the floor and refusing to walk in as I pull him by his lead), and this was yet another of the many warning lights that should have sent me running for my life (or rather my eyes), flashing at my initial consultation with Swati Malkan and pushy salesman aka patient advisor Rui Pedro De Oliveira (now pushing at Focus Clinics).

Feeling pressured, I agreed to Lasek, and the Hoe then thrust a sheet of paper at me to sign, agreeing to the application of Mitomycin C (MMC). This is used in cancer treatment and not licensed for use in refractive eye surgery, and I had never heard of it until that moment!

In fact I wasn't suitable for laser surgery at all given my age and prescription, but as I have told so many people over the years, had I been offered lens exchange you would never have heard my name, because not in a million years would I have considered having my healthy natural lenses removed!

I actually liked my glasses, could wear contact lenses (not any more), and only did this because I thought it would save me money over the years. ROTFLMAO!



Thanks to Leigh Stace for the video edit, a clip from ‘Dopesick’ featuring Rosario Dawson, based on the true story of the OxyContin painkiller scandal, and, just like 'Dark Waters', parallels to be drawn with the refractive surgery scandal.

PS: Today’s weather gave me an idea for a new hashtag that I just couldn't resist - #stormsasha
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Optimax|Ultralase Demo 26 Oct 2021 18:26 #7

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All set for winter, Leigh Stace rocking his new black hoodie* outside the Ultralase|Optimax clinic in Harley Street yesterday :kiss:



Raising awareness, it is so gratifying when people who’ve been considering surgery assure us that they’ll be sticking with their glasses/contact lenses after being told the real risks of unregulated refractive surgery - even more so when people attending initial consultations come out of the clinic to tell us they won't be going ahead, having asked the right questions after being fully informed on their way in!

No-one even realises the industry is unregulated, most people totally shocked when we tell them.

The Harley Street clinic location is perfect for demos, as it's en route from Oxford Circus to Optegra and Optical Express clinics, so we are able to inform their patients too (prospective and damaged)!

The Optimax Finchley Road clinic has been very quiet of late, and at the weekly demo last week, out of three people attending post op appointments, one was very unhappy with the results of laser surgery a few months ago, whilst a fourth person, after talking with us at length, and hearing about Leigh’s experience, decided not to even bother going in for his RLE consultation.

Anyone interested in joining us at a London demo, or even arranging one in your area (only needs 2 people and a fistful of flyers!), please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for stockists
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2/2 Optimax & Russell Ambrose 12 Oct 2021 16:58 #8

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When journalist Marcello Mega initially approached Optimax boss Russell Ambrose about the ICL problems, he asked him would it not have been better to have advertised in the national press, to alert Optimax customers that they were walking around with a possible time bomb in their eyes.

Russell responded in an email:
'Earlier this year I conducted a national press advertising campaign for our services with 8 full page adverts over 4 well known titles. We received only 15 enquiries... Direct response advertising no longer works. Your suggestion of a national advert campaign is not at all practical... We provide a very personal service and find old patients in a personal and targeted way which we know works.

Advertising for customers surely cannot be compared to publishing a warning that people with these lenses need urgent attention else they could go blind! And his 'personal service' is allegedly little more than making phone calls to people during weekends and evenings.

He also wrote: 'Similarly we are concerned that you [journalist] should not cause a flood of unnecessary of calls from worried patients to the NHS. There are millions of cataract in the UK and a lot other ICL lens patients who are not remotely at risk from iris clip lenses. How would they know which lenses they have in their eyes?

Firstly, he has never been concerned about the thousands of his damaged customers (me included) forced to turn to the NHS for aftercare, whilst his letters to these ICL patients at risk state: 'should you need a corneal graft you will have to have it done in the NHS'. (Read post May 11, 2021 at 2:32 pm: optimaxreviews.co.uk/forums/topic/optima...ial-cell-count-ecc//)

And secondly, they should have been told which lenses they had according to this claim: 'All patients received our consent form and literature well in advance of surgery, posted to their home and given to them again on consultation. There were consulted by an optician and the treating surgeon who explained everything to them in depth.’

There are a number of ICL recipients now in litigation with Optimax, who claim they were definitely NOT advised of the potential issues, or of the need for regular ECC checks. And it will be for Optimax to prove otherwise.

Same email from Russell to Marcello Mega: 'You refer to an activist who encourages patients to go elsewhere for care, this is has resulted in a few patients not taking our advice to have their lenses removed and thereby putting themselves more at risk by delaying. We are the experts in this field and no other organisation has done as many iris clip lens implants than us, by far. It would be much better to encourage patients to come back to us than disturb them by saying we are cowboys, as the activist says. Please do you due diligence on this person. This activist has her own agenda will use any technique to pressure me personally and her motives are not always in the best interests of the patients and this is the reason for my accusations of agenda, I know what she is like.’

Russell won't name the ‘activist’, because when I (Sasha Rodoy) send an SAR he has to disclose all data that mentions me, just like Optical Express staff, who, I’ve been told, are not allowed to name me in emails for the same reason.

Whilst I do not deny that I despise this man, ultimately responsible for ruining my beautiful eyes and wrecking my quality of life, persuading me to sign a Settlement Agreement (without legal action) based on lies he told me throughout 40 hrs of (recorded) meetings from 2011 to 2012, our ongoing battle for the last 10 years has no bearing on the interests of any MBEF clients I advise.

His interests however are unarguably financial, his sole reason for not publicly advertising this crisis, to avoid negative publicity and save money!

Russell even expected one woman who contacted me for advice to fly to London from Belfast, at her own cost, to have the lenses removed, stay 2 nights in a hotel (he generously offered to pay for one night), then fly back to Belfast unable to see!

Thanks to my help he finally agreed to pay for her to be treated by an independent specialist in Belfast.
(See post June 9, 2021 at 4:00 pm optimaxreviews.co.uk/forums/topic/optima...lial-cell-count-ecc/

I leave you to decide whether or not I acted 'in the best interests of the patient’.

Meanwhile, there are untold numbers of people out there who are still at risk of losing their sight due to Russell’s refusal to advertise a patient recall, and I beg you to share these posts in the hope that at least one of them might be helped.



Photo courtesy of Optimax Ruined My Life owner Leigh Stace, outside Optimax Finchley Road clinic on 24 June 2021, when Russell came out to chat with weekly demonstrators.

And whilst I appreciate that appearances can also be deceptive, he really wasn’t wearing old PJs under his jacket!
#blindedonthehighstreet
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Optimax Ruined My Life 11 Oct 2021 12:14 #9

  • Annette
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Before surgery I had excellent distance vision but needed glasses for reading, computer, close up work etc..
I decided to have lens replacement surgery on both eyes, which made my sight absolutely awful. I then paid extra to Optimax for YAG laser on both eyes, then had Lasek to my right eye only.
Three years later, although I don't need glasses for reading anymore, my distance vision is terrible and and very blurred.
I have out of focus patches that float about my eyes and move when I move my eyes.
I have not driven since the first operation as I can't see the road signs well enough until they are so close that it is too late to take any necessary action.
Any time day or night when reduced visibility means drivers have their vehicle lights on is a nightmare as the halos are so bright and I have to look down to the floor to avoid the glare..
Each morning I have to engage my brain and stop myself just opening my eyes, as I previously had done for over 60 years, as now my eyes are so dry and feel like the eyelid is stuck to the eyeball, especially my right eye which is worse. I have to physically and gently ease my eyes open using my finger, otherwise it feels very painful, like ripping a plaster off.
Before surgery my eyes used to water if it was cold or windy, and I told Optimax this, I hadn't a clue it was something very inappropriately named Dry Eye, but the symptoms I described to them should have been recognisable as they’re supposed to be the experts!
My Dry Eye is now very much worse and I wear clear safety glasses when I go out running if it's cold or windy, and sunglasses if it's sunny otherwise I wouldn't be able to carry on with this activity as it's almost impossible to run whilst wiping your eyes, blowing your nose, and seeing where you are going. I have had to stop clay pigeon shooting as my distance vision is so poor, sold all my equipment, specialist clothing and my gun is at present in a gun shop awaiting a buyer.
Having lens replacement has ruined my life and made me feel so upset as the money I used was left to me by my Mum who very sadly died.
Lens replacement at Optimax was, by far, the worst decision of my life, and I will be reminded of this every single day I open my eyes.

1/2 Optimax & Russell Ambrose 28 Sep 2021 17:51 #10

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Besides putting a couple of lines on his new LinkedIn page - presumably believing that Optimax customers know who he is, and likely to check out his page - owner Russell Ambrose could've/should’ve contacted all UK optical magazines and asked them to publish this important information, for the attention of optoms and opticians to share with their patients who might have these ICLs.



But not wanting to risk bad publicity for Optimax (+sister company Ultralase), he refused to put his head above the parapet, leaving it to My Beautiful Eyes Foundation members to alert the public :kiss:

Following the Daily Mail article last month,* the story was given to Optician, who, after apparently trying to contact Russell for comment, published half a column in the magazine last week.



Unfortunately however, a schoolboy error in rewording the plagiarised content from the Daily Mail has made this nonsensical: 'If the endothelial cell count drops too low, a corneal transplant is no longer possible.

Oops! It is in fact when the cell count is too low that a transplant is both necessary and possible.The purpose of the ECC checks is to avoid a transplant by removing the lens if it is causing endothelial cell loss.
*www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9934377...-damage-corneas.html
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