Talking with a neighbour’s gardener yesterday, I mentioned that I’m planning to remove a strip of stony path in my garden and replace it with grass.
Good idea he said, and then suggested that I rip up all the grass and replace it with synthetic grass, because it would save time and money on maintenance!
I was quite taken aback, because I expect a gardener to be passionate about living plants, and abhor the concept of destroying vegetation.
And while some of you might like plastic grass, the only place I want to see it is lining a greengrocer’s shelves!
This gardener was wearing tinted prescription specs, and I regret not having asked him whether he would similarly consider having his natural healthy lenses removed and replacing them with plastic ones.
Like many of you, I grew up with Johnson & Johnson products, and have bought their cotton buds for longer than I can remember...
But you are no doubt asking, what could Johnson's baby powder possibly have to do with eyes?
Trust me, the dots will join up by the time you finish reading this
In 2016, when Optical Express blatantly began to refuse aftercare to damaged patients en masse, and discontinued their guaranteed lifetime free eye tests, a reliable source told me that David Moulsdale was consolidating his assets in preparation to exit Optical Express.
'The IMAB [International Medical Advisory Board] consists of several of the world’s leading ophthalmic surgeons and opinion leaders, who provide our surgeons with continuous assessmentand education*, allowing them to stay at the forefront of corrective eye surgery.' www.opticalexpress.co.uk/about/IMAB
Don't be fooled, IMAB is not a recognised scientific body in the UK - or anywhere else, nothing more than an OE advertising tool to impress customers, because with ‘international surgeons' on board the uninformed would naturally accept that OE must be highly respected worldwide. Whereas the truth is, it’s all about money for each and every one of them!
*I once wrote to David Moulsdale asking him to provide IMAB's assessment criteria for surgeons, and dates of such assessments, but strangely enough he didn't answer me.
And two OE surgeons told me when I asked that they had NEVER attended an IMAB assessment in all the years they’d been there, and not once invited to an overseas conference!
One for the ASA methinks.
The members of this sham International Medical Advisory Board are paid approx £20k a year, for their names to be used by OE and to attend annual conferences (in reality a party for the boys, with only one female member, and I’m told that very few of the men take their wives along.)
In 2016 I was contacted by lawyers in New Mexico representing one of Dr Coleman's damaged patients. They wanted info about Dr Steve Schallhorn who was acting as Coleman’s medicolegal expert, both IMAB members and another perfect example of the incestuous nature of this sickening industry.
As usual, the case was settled out of court in 2017 and the damaged patient signed a gagging order.
For newcomers, Steve Schallhorn was OE's Global Medical Director before jumping ship to work with his buddy Jim Mazzo at Carl Zeiss, and according to OE’s website Schallhorn surprisingly remains as IMAB chairman, although I’m told that German IMAB member Burkhard Dick has taken over in all but name. But hey, what's in a name... (C’mon, you couldn't expect me to ignore that!) www.opticalexpress.co.uk/about/IMAB/steve-schallhorn
David Moulsdale hosts the IMAB conferences in whichever part of the world he can afford - Cayman Islands in 2012, and Glasgow in 2013. So with his company finances still in crisis, you might be surprised to hear that next month's IMAB conference is apparently being held in Washington.
And finally we reach the connection to talcum powder!
As mentioned in my 16 March post, Johnson & Johnson acquired Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) in 2016. Steve Schallhorn and Moorfields surgeon Julian Stevens both lucratively paid consultants for AMO, and Schallhorn holding shares in the company btw.
'The all-cash $4.325 billion acquisition was originally announced Sept. 16, 2016, and includes ophthalmic products in three areas of patient care: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health. These product lines will now join with the world-leading ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses business, and the combined organization will operate under the brand name Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&J Vision).' www.jnj.com/media-center/press-releases/...bbott-medical-optics
OE internal sources have told me that David Moulsdale is allegedly negotiating with Johnson & Johnson to buy Optical Express, meetings planned while he’s in Trump country for the IMAB conference (makes sense to save on air fares when your company is in deep sh*t financially).
When looked at under this new light, OE’s withdrawal of aftercare and lifetime eye tests for their customers makes more sense, because although not my area of expertise even I can appreciate that no-one would want to buy a company haemorrhaging money, burdened with countless damaged patients and giving free aftercare to tens (100s?) of thousands more!
If Johnson & Johnson Vision are in negotiations to acquire Optical Express, I suspect that David Moulsdale has not been entirely honest about the true state of affairs within his company, and I think that they, and their shareholders, should be enlightened.
At Moorfields Eye Hospital this afternoon for another monthly injection in my eye
Please note that this was Moorfields NHS hospital, not to be confused with Moorfields Private across the road in the commercial Arthur Steele Unit, where purveyors of unnecessary elective refractive surgery misleadingly use NHS email addresses for their office staff.
This was my 5th injection, and I was dreading it, because the one I had last month was so incredibly painful that I lay there screaming ‘Fuuuuuuuuuu…’ in an attempt not to leap off the table with the needle hanging from my eye! (Tarantino’s ‘Hostel' springs to mind)
So while I was waiting, trying not to stress, cursing Russell Ambrose and Optimax and the entire industry for the fact that I was there at all, I realised that in one respect at least Optimax is not as bad as Optical Express. (Don't get excited Russell, you f*cked my eyes and my life, and there’s no 'get out of jail free' card for you as long as both of us live!)
This is because, unlike Optical Express, Optimax & Ultralase (both owned by Russell Ambrose) don't advertise carrots in the form of spectacles.
As I’ve published previously, Optical Express salespeople and optometrists are paid fat bonuses and incentives to ‘switch’ specs wearers to refractive surgery, no matter if the person isn’t suitable.
But in respect of the latter, Optimax is no different, me being a case in point!
Optometrist Swati Malkan was paid to sell me surgery that was 100% unsuitable - as an internal Optimax email thread admitted, only disclosed under my second Subject Access Request to Russell Ambrose in 2017 (deceitfully not disclosed under my first SAR in 2016), and I was horrified!
With this new information the GOC reopened my complaint against Swati 'Specs Wearing’ Malkan last April, and I’m currently waiting to hear if the ongoing investigation will result in a Fitness to Practise hearing for this dishonest optom.
And in case you're wondering why I'm smiling in the photo on my way out, it's because the nurse who injected me was the best!
After I'd insisted on my eye being soaked with so much anaesthetic that one side of my mouth was numb where the liquid had leaked down my face, he was so fast that it was over before I had time to try not to blink!
The day after two Lasik iDesign operations at OE’s Harley Street were sold for £4,590 and £2,990, exactly the same surgical procedure was sold at Manchester ‘clinic' for £3,990.
But the Manchester SRO (senior refractive optometrist) and PA (salesperson aka Patient Adviser/Counsellor/Refractive Technician) generously gave the customer a whopping £995 discount!
Their victim (& bonus prize) was no doubt told that there’d been a last minute cancellation, that they were really lucky not to have to wait, and if they could have surgery within FOUR DAYS they could have a huge discount too!
This would of course sound like a fantastic bargain to any unsuspecting customer...
And it begs the question, when exactly was the patient to have their consultation with the surgeon?
Possibly a quick phone call, as is OE's practice to circumvent the GMC guidance that the patient should have a consultation with the surgeon BEFORE the day of surgery!
Imagine that you’ve complained about back pain to your GP, who then refers you to a hospital, but instead of seeing the specialist you’re examined by a nurse, who tells you that you need an operation...
Then you’re told, 'You can’t meet the surgeon in person before the day of the operation but he might examine you by phone.'
But that is EXACTLY what is happening with Optical Express, and while their entire sales pitch and operation procedures contravene the GMC and RCOphth guidelines, no-one is doing a damned thing to stop it!
The truth is that OE are struggling (hence why they have so many empty surgery slots) as owner David Moulsdale told me himself when he phoned me on 2 June '17. (I’ve since discovered that it was, as suspected, Siri who called me, assuming David wanted to speak with me after he shouted my name so loudly!)
And for those of you who missed it, first posted on 5 June ’17, this is some of what I heard David Moulsdale angrily telling his colleagues, and I quote,
“I lost FOUR MILLION quid this year…"
“We’re not busy, operating on sixty percent capacity…”
“I can’t pay the surgical team a bonus on less than ten patients a day, we used to treat twenty, twenty-four patients a day… [blurred words] made four thousand a patient… retail price was more…”
“Got f*cking refunds, got f*cking complaints…"
"I’m not paying a nurse to treat less than ten patients a day - I’m not a f*cking charity, I’m not the NHS…”
“Ten patients is three hours work, no way I’m paying bonuses!”
“Four complex enhancements and three YAG a day… YAG should not be ‘treatment!’” (Presumably because bonuses are only paid on actual ‘treatments’.)
“Nurses not to be paid bonus on less than twelve patients… less than fifteen patients - NO BONUS!”
Spitting out numbers he said, “Twenty [£] at fifteen [patients], forty at sixteen, fifty at twenty…"
Then changing his mind, “Twenty, thirty, forty…”
“They [nurses] going to make a f*cking fortune!”.
I think you’ve probably read enough about OE’s sales incentives and bonuses for now, but this information is of interest to the General Optical Council (GOC), who are currently revising their standards for optical businesses.
As Optical Express is a GOC business registrant I have therefore shared all the information I have with them.
The GOC will publish a consultation draft on their site soon, and My Beautiful Eyes Foundation will be responding. I will post a link as soon as the draft is available to read.
And though I vehemently argue against refractive eye surgery being termed ‘cosmetic’, info I found on the GMC cosmetic interventions section, re 'Seeking informed consent and explaining risks’, is highly relevant to refractive eye surgery.
Whenever I speak with an OE damaged laser eye surgery patient for the first time, I ask which type of procedure they had.
Often I’m told, ‘The most expensive one.'
I then explain that it doesn't work like that, as this screenshot shows - £1,600 difference in price for exactly the same lasik procedure!
It works like this: if a customer says the initial quoted price is too high, that they can’t afford it - even after the Hitachi Finance option is dangled under their nose - then the tag team (optom & PA) will pretend they're going to speak to the manager or call Head Office.
They return with the ‘good news’ that they can offer a 'today only’ discounted price, but on condition the deposit is paid immediately.
Asking it it’s refundable if they don't go ahead with surgery, victim is told 'yes’. The truth is of course quite different, as can be read on the ‘DEPOSIT REFUND’ topic!
Another price pump up scam is to tell a customer with a high prescription that the procedure is therefore more expensive.
OE staff will do anything they can - beside holding the customer at gunpoint - not to lose a sale.
NB: The bonus is in addition to the percentage they’re paid in commission, proportionate to the sale amount.
One Optical Express employee - let’s call her Kate - has been with the company in Glasgow since she left school, describing herself on LinkedIn as a 'Refractive Technician & Patient Counsellor’ (aka Patient Advisor/PA)
A little birdie told me that Kate makes so much money in bonuses - virtually forcing all her customers to book surgery - that she’s now the proud owner of a house purchased with her ill gotten gains!
Kate is as despicable as David Moulsdale and his salivating lap dog Tweedles, because after ten years she has seen many thousands of patients left with irreparable problems, but is happy to keep pushing people into surgery she knows is likely to ruin their lives!
In fact, I don't believe that anyone working at OE for more than one month can claim immunity from my contempt and disgust!
So to all you OE optoms and PAs readying to finish for the day, while you're planning how to spend the money you've made in bonuses and commission, think about the part you've played in ruining so many people's eyes and lives to get that money!
And if your conscience has the slightest twinge, consider joining my little birdies...
A patient (customer) is 'switched' when they go into an Optical Express store to buy glasses, and the salesperson and/or optometrist manages to pressure them into buying eye surgery instead!
This screenshot dates back to 2014, but courtesy of an OE employee with a conscience (few & far between nowadays), I have a veritable galaxy of 2018 internal documents, proving that staff incentives and bonuses are integral to the survival of this corrupt comany!
Optical Express Ruined My Life Forum
21 Feb 2018 17:31 #88
I booked my lens replacement at the Trafford centre branch about 4/5 years ago and im pretty sure when I booked the procedure I was promised a lifetime backup should I need further treatments was anybody else given this assurance?
________________________ admin: Oh yes... www.opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk/ind...etime-guarantee.html
Lee Mackinnon is Optical Express' Head of Performance, and after reading a number of his emails to store staff, I believe he'd be more appropriately employed as a sports team coach, screaming at players from the sidelines! www.opticalexpressjobs.co.uk/…/meet-head-of-performa…
The heavily encouraged and incentivised sales pressure put on customers is ill placed, and not acceptable for a provider of ANY surgical procedure!
The 'Surgery Slot Finder' enables staff to book in bamboozled customers before they've had time to think, therefore parting with a sizeable deposit, if not the entire surgery cost, on the day of their 'free consultation'.
Never mind that they haven't seen the surgeon, or walked in for a 'free consultation' - or worse, simply to buy a pair of glasses!