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OPTEGRA 17 Oct 2017 18:36 #11

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Optegra previously marketed the company as a superior eye surgery provider, at one time even advertising 'Clarivu' lens exchange as a unique procedure.

In fact 'Clarivu' is simply a brand name, as the ASA agreed when I complained, and 'unique' consequently removed from the advertising.

Some of you may remember reading about the Clarivu sales promotion I infiltrated in March 2015 (wearing a wig that fooled no-one!) accompanied by three fellow campaigners, where TV presenter Ruth Langsford, Optegra's highly paid 'ambassador' for Clarivu, delivered her careless pitch for lens exchange, telling the dinner guests, 'Do it, do it, do it!'

After my own unanticipated pitch to the guests, with info packs handed around the room by my colleagues, I very much doubt that Ruth earned her purse that night!

Optegra surgeons have their fair share of damaged patients btw, some who've posted here, and others I know of in litigation.

And they must be struggling, because Optegra have now stooped lower than Optical Express (hard to achieve) by advertising on Groupon!

But there's more :kiss:

As most of you know, in May 2015 I was appointed as lay adviser to the Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group (RSSWG), formed to revise the College standards, but removed in June at the behest of David Moulsdale, a convenient excuse for the College to exclude input from damaged patients.

Two Optegra consultants sat on the RSSWG, James Ball and Bernie Chang (Bernie then Vice President and Chair of the RCOphth Professional Standards Committee).

Taken from the 2016 Consultation draft:
'4.6 The following are considered socially irresponsible and are prohibited:
4.6.1. Time-limited deals
4.6.2. Financial inducements

Presumably because the College has NO regulatory power and can't prohibit anything, the eventual 2017 publication watered down the wording:
'4.6. The following should not be used:
4.6.1. Time-limited deals
4.6.2. Financial inducements

The reason I mention this is because Optegra's offer on Groupon is in breach of points 4.6.1 and 4.6.2.

'25% off... 31% off... Limited time remaining!'

Hypocrisy oozes like pus whichever way you look - especially from the doors of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Cancelled consultation 06 Jun 2017 18:35 #12

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I was booked for a consultation at Optegra last week. I felt tired of wearing glasses and wanted the freedom of perfect vision.

I came across your website the night before and within minutes I just knew that I must not go to that appointment. I cancelled it that night and just wanted to thank you for influencing me to do that. Your statement of 'why would any sane person want to have their healthy natural lens removed and replaced by an artificial one' really brought it home to me what I was about to do. So just thank you for saving me from that.

Very best wishes

OPTEGRA Yorkshire 08 Nov 2016 13:20 #13

  • Shirley
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Hi CP, Nov 2016 and my probs continue. I haven't formally complained as I prefer to try to keep on good terms until all avenues for resolution are exhausted. It feels like Optegra have been through the stages of wishing I'd go away to now agreeing to further treatment. Having swapped natural eyesight problems for a different and worse set of problems I don't think I will ever achieve the glasses free no problem eyesight that the advertising for this procedure promises.
What issues are you experiencing?
admin: (i)Shirley, I strongly advise you to complain asap - see my reply to Jonathan in General Chat thread!! (ii) CP & Shirley, if you send your email addresses I will put you in touch with one another.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OPTEGRA Yorkshire 10 Jul 2016 21:45 #14

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I am in a similar situation. Have you made a formal complaint?

OPTEGRA Yorkshire 17 Mar 2016 22:26 #15

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Hi, I had this Clarivu procedure at the Yorkshire Optegra clinic and am having lots of problems. Would appreciate swapping stories if poss.

Clarivu evening with Ruth Langsford cont'd… 19 Apr 2015 19:07 #16

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At that point I decided the game was over and tried to give Ruth an information pack I’d prepared (she wouldn’t take it), which included details from unhappy Optegra patients.

I said, “I suggest you read this, I’m Sasha Rodoy and I’m actually leading the campaign calling for…"

She interrupted, almost spitting, “Well I know, I know who you are!

Dammit, I knew the mermaid wig gave me away :kiss:

Me: “Oh you do?

Ruth: "Of course I know who you are, that’s why I came over to say hello!

Of course you did Ruth, that was obvious when you completely ignored me and spoke only to Carmel!

Ruth: "I’m not hiding from you.”

Me: "Then why don’t you invite me and other damaged patients (onto one of your shows) - like Claire (RLE) and like Carmel (Laser), who’ve also been damaged by this industry, while people like you get paid…

Ruth interrupted, “You haven’t been damaged by Optegra

Me: “It doesn’t matter - this gentleman used to be with Optimax (indicating Manzar Saeed)… and you are being paid to encourage people to have eye surgery, where there is no regulation, there’s no regulation at all!"

Not to be outvoiced Ruth responded to everything I said with, “Yes… yeah... Ok…”

I then addressed the room, everyone now listening, “Anyone who is considering having this surgery; my name is Sasha Rodoy, my website is Optical Express Ruined My Life, my campaign is My Beautiful Eyes. On OERML website you will find a forum topic which is about Optegra. This surgery is not safe - why the hell would you have your healthy natural lenses removed if you don’t have cataracts?

Ruth was trying to get the room’s attention, saying, “This lady is very well known for doing this... you must all make up your own minds…”

Me: “Ms Langsford can dismiss me all she likes because she gets paid for this, and she’s earning millions of pounds for what she’s doing, please look on the internet!

Ruth: “I’m not dismissing you, thing is…”

Pulling out info packs, which my colleagues quickly distributed around the room, I said, "And if anyone wants to have a look at this…”

Ruth: “No I don’t actually!

Me: “You don’t because you’re going to lose to much money."

Ruth didn’t have a script to work from so kept repeating variations on the same theme, “This woman’s well known for doing this…”, and trying to talk over me, which is not easy when I’m in full swing and want to make a point - as I’m sure the Dept of Health officials and CSI Committee would confirm.

Me: "Of course I’m well known, I’m running a UK campaign, I’m representing tens of thousands of people who’ve been damaged by this industry… why don’t you do some research?"

Ruth (scathingly): “It’s not tens of thousands… it’s not true…”

Me: "Yes it is Ruth, absolutely it is! And whilst you’re making lots of money out of this - and you said you take no responsibility…”

It had become quite heated, with Ruth continuing to interrupt with inane and fallacious comments.

Four young hotel security guys materialised by my side indicating they wanted me to leave. I said, “Wait a minute, let me finish first!"

To Ruth: "You are promoting this surgery, you are encouraging people in the same way that Mel B encouraged people to have laser eye surgery, but she now has problems herself."

Ruth: “How do you know that?

Me: “Oh purlease, do your research!

Ruth: "She’s not here, where is she?

Me: “No she’s not here, but I have done my research. I’ve spent the last 3 years of my life campaigning and helping people who’ve been damaged."

Manzar Saeed spoke up: “Can I speak?

Me: “Yes, you can speak

But Ruth continued…

Manzar Saeed: “Sorry, can I say something?

Ignoring him Ruth said, “You’ve done your research, and I’ve done my research…”

Me: "You haven’t done any research Ruth, your research is how much money is going into your bank account! You are paid millions for what you are doing...”

Ruth said, “I wish!”, snorting contemptuously.

Me: “Over the years, you’ve been doing this for more than a year…”

Ruth turned her head to our audience, sneering, "Millions? I’m not paid millions! You have no idea…”

Me: “OK let me correct that; you have been paid more than a million pounds for what you’ve done...”

Ruth: “That is absolute not true, it’s not as much as that…”

Me: “Really? Because I have an idea of how much you’re paid!

Ruth: “You really have not got a clue, you have no idea what I’m paid!

Me: "Why are you being so defensive then?"

Ruth: “I’m not beng defensive…”

Me: "You’re being very defensive...”

The security guys, who’d been very patient up to that point, said they now had to ask me to leave the premises.

Me: “The final word I have to say on this is please google Sasha Rodoy, and My Beautiful Eyes, and Optical Express Ruined My Life. And PLEASE, do not have this surgery unless it is the only option to going blind because you could end up damaged like ten of thousands of others

To Ruth I said, “And shame on you!"

Worried I wasn’t going to leave, the security guy said, ”Please, or we’ll have to call the police!

I told them I had no problem with that because of the publicity it would bring, but of course it’s the last thing Optegra wanted. However, our work was done and it was time to go home.

Walking toward the door Ruth was again teetering around the room repeating her mantra, “She does this all the time…”

I again said, “Shame on you Ruth!” and left the room.

I suspect Optegra didn’t take too many bookings for Clarivu that evening, and I hope that anyone who was still considering unnecessary cataract surgery went home and did their research after being lucky enough to have been given information they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Ruth told me she was not responsible for any problems suffered by customers buying Clarivu at her recommendation, because she doesn’t perform the ops, the surgeons do, and I see her point, to a limited degree. But having told me, "it’s like promoting shampoo, it might work for me but not for them”, how can she then unreservedly tell people, “Do it, do it, do it”?

And to call herself an ‘ambassador’ for Clarivu is a complete misuse of the term. Ruth Langsford is a TV personality with a lucrative advertising contract to promote a product.

Promoting a lingerie company for payment is one thing, but ‘celebrities’ endorsing medical procedures must stop!


Before meeting Ruth Langsford I gave her the benefit of the doubt, but now she has no excuse to deny knowledge of the major problems within this industry.

Ruth admitted that she knew who I was, and will be reading this, so perhaps she’ll reconsider whether or not she has a responsibility to all those she irresponsibly tells, “Do it, do it, do it”!

NB: I later learned that Manzar Saeed apparently still works at Optimax as well as at Optegra.

Clarivu evening with Ruth Langsford cont'd… 11 Apr 2015 17:21 #17

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Champagne and canapés finished, it was time for the fun to begin!

We were herded into the dining area, where six tables were each laid with six places and at least one Mr/s Happy and one Optegra salesperson per table.

When we’d asked the Happy people, who sported personalised Optegra name badges, they denied they were being paid to attend, claiming they were there just for the free meal.

Carmel and I chose a table near the back of the room, while Claire and Paul sat a few tables away nearer the front. I was pleased to discover Optegra's surgeon Manzar Saeed and his wife were sharing our table.

Optegra's Colindale ‘Hospital Director’ introduced Manzar Saeed, whose nervous presentation explained what ‘Clarivu’ is - cataract surgery!

Free with the NHS if you have cataracts, or £4,000 per eye at Optegra if you have perfectly healthy eyes!

Then it was Ruth’s turn.

She said she'd had surgery 18 months ago, which was her first lie, because according to Optegra’s website Ruth Langsford had surgery in March 2013. But I suppose it's easy to lose track of time when you regurgitate the same script so often.

She said her distance vision wasn’t too bad pre surgery, but she couldn’t read close up, going into great detail to make sure we appreciated that, miming the repeated action of taking specs off, on, off, on, off...

She said: “If you don'’t know what I do, I’m a TV presenter… and it was becoming a problem taking glasses on and off...”

It has to be said, if no-one else loved Ruth she probably wouldn’t notice, because she has plenty enough love for herself!

She made a very big deal out of needing to have her glasses with her at all times pre surgery, said she was always panicking: “It was like having a disability”, that she'd explored laser eye surgery but it wasn’t suitable.

She mentioned celebrities endorsing washing powder and said - somewhat evangelically, “I think this is different, um, because I wasn’t an ambassador before I had surgery, I became one because I wanted to spread the word.

Describing her operation she said she’d had more pain at the hygienist - a poor analogy as teeth are hardly comparable to eyes.

Said it was a miracle… (definitely evangelical)

Because her eyes were operated on two days apart she said she went back to work after first surgery with one ‘new’ eye and one ‘old’ eye, that she could read the autocue with her old eye just like she’d been able to before surgery.

By then Ruth’s expansive rhetoric was getting a bit confusing, not to mention boring.

She closed her presentation by saying: “It really has changed my life for the better, that’s why I want to spread the word about Clarivu at Optegra, it’s absolutely fantastic, I can’t speak highly enough of it, there are absolutely no downsides - at all… just do it!"

Oh Ruth!

Dinner was served, and if that’s all the Happy people got paid then they must have been desperately hungry!

Presentations over I thought I’d better try and appear sociable, so I turned to Peter on my left, who seemed quite melancholy, as if trying to convince himself there was a good reason to rip out his healthy lenses and replace them with implants.

He told me his friend had surgery at Optegra in Jersey about a year ago, adding: “The only thing he’s noticed is when he drives at night, the lights are very bright, car headlights coming towards him…"

Glare...”, I said.

Yes”, he said, "Whether it’s because his vision is that much better, and it just seems brighter, or… I know Ruth said everything’s seems brighter when you first have it done… he’s worn glasses since he was five...”

NB: As Peter’s friend had surgery a year ago it’s highly likely he was fitted with the MPlus X lens currently under specialist investigation by the MHRA.

He said, “I suppose one good thing about it, if you’re going to get cataracts, I suppose it’s best to have them done before you get them!”, and laughed nervously.

Peter, if you’re reading this, I hope my ‘presentation’ was enough to convince you not to risk it. And for the record, you look absolutely fine wearing specs!

While Ruth teetered around the tables promoting the ‘miracle’ that restored her vision ( www.optegra.com/our-latest-news/ruth-lan...-replacement-surgery ) Manzar Saeed joined us.

Pretending I knew nothing I asked him some questions. I won’t bore you with the minutiae, but when I asked if he worked only at Optegra he told me he was a 'freelance independent practitioner'. I asked if he had worked at any of the high street clinics and he admitted that he had worked at Optimax.

I questioned why Optegra was more expensive than Optimax and he defensively replied that surgeons are not involved in the pricing model. He said he offered the same treatment but Optegra had more facilities if anything went wrong, “For instance, if a patient has retinal problems I can’t treat that at Optimax…”.

Yet Mr Manzar Saeed lists Optimax UK Ltd as one of his practices, with a personal Optimax email address:

In the midst of this conversation the Colindale clinic manager announced that a couple of people had asked to book appointments so his colleagues had set up a table where we could all do this. (Just like time share sales)

Although unconvinced by Manzar's claim that, "Cataract surgery is the safest operation in the world", I pointed out that this is not being done for cataracts.

To be fair to Manzar Saeed, when Claire later asked him what the worst case scenario was, he told her honestly, “You could go blind”!

Having worked the rest of the room Ruth approached my table.

Completely ignoring me she focused on Carmel, who asked Ruth if she felt any responsibility for patients she had persuaded to buy ‘Clarivu’ who suffered problems.

Ruth said that she doesn’t do the surgery so it’s not her responsibility: “It’s like if I were promoting shampoo, it might work for me but not for someone else. All I do is tell them how good it is for me.”

Now that’s another lie, because Ruth tells everyone, “Do it, do it, do it!”:

Then I spoke, questioning her denial of responsibility. Forced to look at me, with a fixed smile she replied that she doesn’t take responsibility for anything going wrong.

I asked if she'd asked Optegra if anything had ever gone wrong.

Quite indignantly she replied, “Yes, of course I have!”, saying they’d told her only one patient had ever had a problem at Optegra, but it was pre existing so not the clinic's fault.

Was that a flying pig I saw go by?

She said that all she can do is say how good Clarivu was for her.

I said, "But you get paid for doing this!

I asked, "Do you know there’s no regulation of this industry?

Ruth: “There is regulation."

Me: “No, there isn’t."

Ruth: “Well I think there is!

At that point I introduced myself...

To be cont'd :kiss:

Clarivu evening with Ruth Langsford cont'd… 30 Mar 2015 23:12 #18

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The presentation on 24 March was held at Latimer Place, a large corporate venue in Chesham, where Carmel and I met up with Claire and Paul in the hotel car park.

Nowadays there’re not many people in the industry who don’t know what I look like, so to disguise myself I’d bought a short blonde wig. Unfortunately it kept slipping off, so Claire suggested I borrow her daughter’s wig.

A gorgeous wig, but with lustrous long chestnut curls cascading down my back I looked like a mermaid with legs, and in my opinion more obvious than if I'd gone sans wig wearing a name tag printed in big red letters!

But they convinced me I was unrecognisable, so off to the hotel we went.

Carmel and I pretended we were meeting Paul and Claire for the first time as we walked into the lobby, where a number of glossy young smiling Optegra representatives waited to greet us.

As more people continued to arrive we stood at one of the high cocktail tables scattered around a reception room, where a video of Ruth Langsford extolling the wonders of Clarivu played on a large TV screen. Another woman joined us, so our conversation became guarded.

After being plied with champagne up bounced an attractive blonde Optegra sales rep, dragging with her an older woman wearing a name badge identifying her as a previous Optegra customer.

Effervescing enthusiasm, the salesperson encouraged Mrs Happy to tell us about the wonderful results of her lens exchange surgery.

I almost burst out laughing when Mrs Happy told me how much she loved my hair, and I murmured to Carmel that her surgery obviously hadn’t been very successful!

If you’ve ever been to a time share presentation then you’ll have a good idea of what a Clarivu evening with Ruth Langsford is like!

It was a hard sell, and even Optical Express could learn from Optegra - although I think David Moulsdale might choke on the idea of offering free champagne, and I know Russell Ambrose definitely would!

It was also actually quite chilling to see so many people wearing specs being pressured to sign up for surgery. The scene reminded me of a T shirt I bought many years ago in Los Angeles, printed with a cartoon of frogs leaving a French restaurant on crutches.

Waiters approached with more trays of champagne and canapés, but I didn’t risk another drink as I needed to stay focused (not hard to resist cheap stuff).

My plan was to listen to Ruth’s presentation, and when invited to ask questions we’d start off innocently before going in for the kill.

I’d made a list of suggested questions, and held out hope that perhaps Ruth was unaware of the problems caused by unnecessary cataract surgery, and didn't know anything about the MPlus lens furore.

NB: After all the adverse publicity in January, when I called Optegra they told me they were still using MPlus lenses (see post 10 Jan ’14):

We also hoped that any prospective customers (without cataracts) would not consider lens exchange after hearing what we had to say.

But then we were told dinner was on the agenda, so the plan changed slightly as we unanimously voted to keep quiet until after we’d eaten.

To be cont’d... :kiss:

CLARIVU sales drive 27 Mar 2015 23:35 #19

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Reply from Optegra in response to my ICO subject access request for copies of all photos taken (without my permission) at Ruth Langsford's Clarivu sales pitch on Tuesday!


Clarivu evening with Ruth Langsford 25 Mar 2015 23:31 #20

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admin wrote: "Clarivu evening with Ruth Langsford" It’s like if I were promoting shampoo,

Oh dear! But we all know how much it hurts when you get shampoo in your eyes!