PCSO Ashley B (aka Mr Abs) is now desk bound, his dream of a future career as a police officer and emergency response driver ruined, a result of laser eye surgery at Optimax in 2011, performed by Dr Seethappa Madhusudhan.*
Lots more to this story, including a recording of Russell Ambrose telling Ashley he’d find a way for him to pass the police eye test - to drive at high speed with damaged vision, endangering people’s lives!
In December 2014, Russell paid Ashley in return for his silence (‘gagging’ order), but their email correspondence and recorded conversations in my possession were not deleted.
Have no doubt that the government is fully aware of what is going on within the corrupt refractive eye surgery industry, but too many of them have their fingers in the same poisonous pie!
So as topic says, I paid for a lifetime guarantee back in 2011, it was really a crazy amount of money looking back on it, but thought it was worth it at the time because if anything went wrong I was covered. I raised concerns within the first few months of having the treatment, as I felt I didn't have great results, but they did tests and assured me I had 2020 vision even though I didn't feel I did. Fast forward several years and I was then convinced my eyesight had got much worse so I went to Specsavers who gave me a prescription of minus 1.5 in both eyes. I started wearing glasses again at this point and have done since.
Stupidly, I never really bothered to look into the aftercare that I had paid for with Ultralase. If I remember correctly, I did phone them once around the time I started wearing glasses again, and I think I was told the guarantee was no longer worth anything since they were now a different company. Then I just stopped looking into it any further, until today when I started thinking about it again and just thought it wasn't right what happened. I did phone Ultralase earlier, and was told the same thing I got told a few years ago, being that they were not honouring those guarantees and retreatment would cost approx £2200 (which I obviously wouldn't want to pay).
Is there anything at all I can try doing at this point, or am I out of luck considering I have left it so long? Thank you in advance!
We had a very busy day, more people than we normally see attending the clinic, a mix of pre and post op...
We spoke with one very unhappy and worried laser patient in his late twenties, two weeks post op, his previous appointment with an optom cancelled, no-one returning his calls, which he told us had left him even more stressed. And, still not seen by his operating surgeon, he came out later clutching two boxes of eye drops after being told to give it time!
Another person, who’d had laser surgery at Optimax aged 18, had returned considering more surgery, because now aged 28 (unsurprisingly to me*) her vision has deteriorated and she needs glasses.
But when she heard how lucky she had been, with no serious side effects or complications, she thanked us, and said she wouldn’t be taking the risk.
Another young man who stopped to speak with us, determined to have surgery, told us that his brother had no problems after laser and that's why he wanted the same. We explained that just because one person is lucky doesn't guarantee that everyone will be.
I told him that I have a number of MBEFoundation clients who had surgery on the same day as their partner (laser and lens), and whilst one was successful the other has problems. In some cases both have suffered problems - and a phrase I keep repeating, it’s a matter of luck, like playing Russian roulette, but with more than one bullet in the chamber.
He came out later clutching a bottle of eye drops because he’d been told he had dry eyes, but said they were willing to operate anyway!
As usual we were approached by a number of people passing by, including one person who had a consultation booked at London Vision Clinic in two weeks time.
They were extremely appreciative of the information we provided, and like so many others, had no idea that the #refractivesurgery industry is unregulated, or of the very possible downsides to these operations, and when the person told me that they already have dry eyes, I explained how laser surgery damages the nerves in the eye, about MGD, and Corneal Neuralgia - the list is endless!
LVC owner Dr Blindstein charges £500 for a consultation to find out if you’re suitable for surgery, so he and his pals have the patient on a hook before they even walk through the door.
Because, as I know from my own tragic experience, whilst Optical Express and Optimax|Ultralase UK initially offer free consultations (that often turn out not to be when people are left fighting for their ‘refundable’ deposits), once you've paid a chunky deposit, you don’t want to lose it for no good reason, and feel pressured to stay on the well oiled conveyor belt that so insidiously slides you through to surgery!
*Too young, because your prescription can fluctuate until your 20s, and no ethical refractive surgeon (oxymoron?) would operate on someone who had not had a stable prescription for at least 2 years.
Hostilities were suspended at Finchley Road demo last Thursday (1 July) during negotiations over coffee with Russell Ambrose, owner of financially insolvent Optimax and Ultralase refractive eye surgery clinics.
Normal service resumed this week with privileges withdrawn (and no coffee!)
Optimax, who made contact with me after many, many years to have an eye check up for £35. So i went to their office in Liverpool Street on 17.4.21 when i was told that i needed to changed my left Lense very soon or I will lose my eye sight. Basically, there is a long back story, but i have been to seen by them last week and am in the process of arranging a zoom meeting with a consultant to see if i am suitable for surgery which they will cover the cost of my lense removal and replacement but if i want the multifocal lense i will have to pay the difference of £785. My cell count is low and i am really worried about this, is there somebody that can help me??
———————- admin: Shocking that Optimax think it sufficient for very disturbed and anxious people to have a Zoom call with a surgeon before having momentous life changing surgery!
After contacting Sasha she recommended an independent ophthalmologist to provide a second opinion and Optimax agreed to pay for the consultation.
The Consultant was amazing and we felt very safe. He did not understand why Optimax had intended to take the lenses out yet as there're no previous ECC readings to show when my wife's cell count went down.
Not too concerned about the cell count at the moment, but we have booked in for another ECC in 6 months time to see what loss has occurred.
We received an email today from Optimax which states that they have been trying to contact us (no they haven’t) and that they are having to cancel the operation due to unforeseen circumstances and for my wife to call and make a new appointment when it is convenient.
Concerning that Optimax had booked my wife in for a lens extraction without being examined by a surgeon, and a consultation scheduled only 35 mins before the intended operation!
We want some answers from them regarding why they wanted to remove the lenses without her having seen a surgeon, and why they haven’t done counts yearly, and where my wife's records are. Probably many other questions to ask after they have put us through hell since they contacted us.
It's still possible that the lenses will eventually have to be removed but we won't know until the next ECC. If they do need removing we won't be trusting Optimax to do this.
I have just found your forum as I have been looking for information on Optimax and lens implants with regards to endothelial cell damage.
My wife has just been contacted by Optimax after 17 years of having a lens implant. She has now been told the lenses need to be removed and her endothelial cell counts are dangerously low.
We are going for a second opinion privately but really looking for more information and what the future holds.
Flushed with the success of recent demos at Optimax|Ultralase we returned for a second day this week on Wednesday, which they definitely were not expecting - we'd intended a third day but the weather was too bad
Aiming to be on site in time to catch the early birds leaving after their 8.30am consultations, and having been told the clinic was fully booked, we were surprised that only five customers materialised whilst we were there.*
Two of these were lens patients who’d had surgery years ago, suddenly invited by Optimax for check ups with an optom - at the cost of £300, even though not seen by an ophthalmologist!
Guess that’s one way to scrape up the rent when you’re financially insolvent!
*As with all other potential customers we’ve spoken to, the three people attending for laser consultations had NOT been told that Optimax was in a CVA, whilst one of them had been given Ultralase literature.
As we started to pack up to leave later that afternoon, a young man and his mother approached us, and not only made our time spent worthwhile, but perhaps explained why the clinic was so quiet.
The woman had a laser consultation booked just before midday, but fortuitously, one of her sons accompanying his father to a nearby clinic early that morning for (essential) surgery had seen us setting up camp.
He sent photos to his mother who had then immediately cancelled her appointment.
The woman said that when she'd initially contacted Optimax, asking if she could have laser eye surgery at the age of 50, the call centre adviser told her ‘yes', that she could have it even in her 60s and 70s!
I suspect however, that just as Optical Express do, once in the door they’d have sold her lens exchange, way more profitable for refractive eye surgery companies.
The woman was incredibly grateful, literally with tears in her eyes (better than post op tears!), but we were also very appreciative that they had come to tell us this, because we had no way to know otherwise.
Her son told us that his wife had also planned to have laser surgery at Optimax, but that she wouldn't do so now.
As usual, we made it clear that it doesn't matter where you have surgery, that these operations carry the same risks, that there is no government regulation, etc…
Demos are incredibly effective, motorists as well as pedestrians taking photos, often asking if they can share on their social media sites - YES!
It's not just the people going in for consultations we're helping, but so many more who stop to ask questions, telling us they were thinking about it, close to booking consult, had booked consult... none who realise the industry is unregulated!
The most oft repeated words we hear is that they know people who've had good results with (apparently) no problems.
Exactly - that's why we do what we do!
Plenty more London demos planned, not only at Optimax|Ultralase, so please do contact us if you’d like to come along.
And if you can't make it to London, it only takes TWO people to stand outside your target premises, wearing the appropriate T-shirt and handing out flyers. Banners not necessary.
Outside Optimax aka Ultralase today, raising awareness and providing honest information to people considering refractive surgery - that they will never hear from those selling it
Optical Express at 22 Harley Street is just one minute’s walk from Optimax, on the opposite side of the road, and when I arrived this morning the only parking space available was immediately outside the Optical Express entrance!
And with my #OERML wheel cover attracting attention I was sorely tempted to leave my car there for the rest of the day, but I might have returned to find four flat tires! So when a space freed up outside Optimax I moved…
Our demos refer to the entire industry, not just Optical Express or Optimax|Ultralase UK, so yet again everyone we spoke to was shocked that there is no government regulation.
But more surprising to us demonstrators were the horror stories three people told us about their own refractive surgery experiences, including one man whose eyes were ruined by RK surgery about 10 years ago, who apparently succeeded in putting the (now deceased) surgeon out of business.
So many tragedies caused by refractive surgery over the years, the vast majority ignored by press and media!
Meanwhile, there were so few customers visiting today that I wonder how they’re paying the rent, but it does explain why the Harley St clinic is only open a few days each week.
Yawning, with only two of us left by mid afternoon, all of us having spoken with numerous people passing by, some who had been considering surgery (before talking to us!), we decided to call it a day - but just as we were about to pack up a couple in their fifties arrived.
We asked if they wanted to speak with us before going in to Optimax, which they did, but as we started to talk the receptionist came out, all but dragging the couple inside by their hair! However, the couple didn't budge and stayed with us…
The wife was intending to have (not urgent) cataract surgery, and I advised her that it’s not just Optimax, that the entire industry is unregulated, that MBEF represents clients damaged by most providers, primarily the big ones who shout the loudest, including Optegra Eye Hospital, and to Google #PaulDance for a tragic (but unfortunately not rare) story.
After ten to fifteen minutes, the woman had heard enough to change her mind, and having also spoken with my colleague suffering irreparable problems after lens surgery, said she would rather go on the #NHS waiting list.
The receptionist came out again and told the couple that she had a previous patient inside who was very happy with her surgery, and willing to tell them all about it. I politely told her to butt out, not to interrupt me, and to save her sales pitch for when they went inside.
She wasn’t happy, no doubt less so when the couple eventually went in - and left within 10 mins!
In the midst of this, a young woman and her mother finally came out (after nearly 3hrs!!) and spoke with us. (The receptionist had also dragged them in when they first arrived.)
The mother thought she had done sufficient research, asked us many questions, and said she would look into this further, but she was taken aback to be told about Optimax’s CVA.
Because, contrary to what was claimed by the Optimax supervisor (read Optimax Ruined My Life post below), potential customers are NOT being advised of the CVA!
Posing as a potential customer, on 27 May, campaigner Sasha Rodoy called Optimax call centre and asked if the company was in financial difficulties, and if there was a CVA in place. This was vehemently denied to Sasha, who ended her call by saying: ‘You're lying’.
Optimax & Ultralase record all incoming calls, and of course this one with Sasha was played to owner Russell Ambrose.
The call centre staff were quickly provided with scripts, to be used should querying customers mention the very sensitive CVA topic!
This recording includes excerpts from a second call two days later, made by someone else posing as a potential customer speaking with the Optimax/Ultralse call centre supervisor.
Included in the original uncut recording, the Optimax supervisor told the caller, ‘We have put our financial position out there’.