/ Health

Laser eye surgery: what do you see?

Laser eye

You’ll see lots of advertising for laser eye surgery, but what should you know before you decide to go through with it? Our latest undercover investigation finds laser eye clinics failing to clearly explain the risks.

We sent undercover researchers into 18 laser eye clinics across England for their initial consultation and an expert panel rated a third of those visits poor.

Independent clinics, smaller chains and hospital-based providers scored the best, with high street providers coming bottom.

If you’re a Which? member, you can see the best and worst laser eye companies here.

A dim view of laser eye consultations

The most striking problem was the lack of clear verbal information about the risks to the individual: everybody’s eyes are different, and however good the written information you get is, you need to know about any potential issues.

Serious long-term complications are rare but, in extreme cases, patients can have long-term problems, such as severe dry eyes. You could even end up with worse sight, so it’s important you’re aware of this before you commit.

Another problem we identified is a lack of centralised information, such as surgeons’ success rates, to help people make an informed choice. It’s up to the clinics what they reveal to you.

It’s also voluntary for surgeons to undertake the specialist certificate in laser refractive surgery run by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth), and only around half do. In effect, any doctor could carry out these operations, and the clinic decides if they’re competent.

Your views on laser eye surgery

Most people will have a good experience with laser eye surgery and we received many comments along the lines of; ‘I am one happy customer’ and ‘the best thing I ever did’. But we also heard from people who had had ongoing problems, one deeming it an ‘absolute disaster’.

We’re pleased that as a result of last year’s review into cosmetic surgery led by Sir Bruce Keogh, the Royal College of Surgeons will establish committees to review laser eye surgeon professional standards and information for patients. In the meantime we’ve given our findings to the Care Quality Commission.

Have you considered or had laser eye surgery? Did you feel well-informed?

Comments
Guest
tomlinbish says:
13 September 2014

I enclose the text below and link from a site I found today. This says it all really about how ‘eyecare professionals’ are quite happy to perform what is very risky surgery on people, but won’t contemplate having these type of ops themselves.

“A final consideration”.

“We can not offer a better reason to re-evaluate a decision to have LASIK surgery than that given by Jayne Weiss, head of laser eye surgery at Wayne State University in Detroit and the chairwoman of the FDA’s ophthalmic devices panel. During the panel’s April 25, 2008 hearing she was asked why she wears glasses. She explained that she chooses not to have LASIK surgery because she is uncomfortable with the level of risk involved. If she can not manage the risks, can you?”

http://www.lasiksurgerywatch.org/issues/finalConsiderations.htm

Profile photo of Harley
Guest

I decided to find out from Optical,Express about laser surgery for my declining short vision.
I was advised by OE to go with multifocal lens replacement as I have a cataract starting to form in one eye.
Last January 2014 i went to Chelmsford for my surgery, I had my left eye done.
Since then it has not settled. It fluctuates between 80% and 20%, going between fairly good with ghosting, starry halo on lights to very blurry and forget it, I can only see up to maybe 30 feet when it goes bad.
I keep being told get the other done they will then settle or, it must be me settling to them, also it can take up to a year to settle down! One would hope if I only had one eye they’d have said we wouldn’t operate on it!!
So last Monday 9th Sept I had an appointment to see the head surgeon at OE in their London clinic.
Anyway I was shown in to see the surgeon but it’s was not He but another surgeon. No explanation why I didn’t see the head chap. I late found out that the top,chap,had left OE mid August! Why didn’t OE inform me of this ?
Anyway this other surgeon went on to say in quite a forceful way was, why had i waited so long to get my other eye done. These problems I’m having are normal and will right itself once the other eye is done. He explained that the muscles can’t work properly with two different thickness of lens’s, and that I need the other eye done to level them off to work properly. He said I would notice the difference the day after my op.
I’m still not convinced.
Also I had signed a 0% repayment that expired as i went past 6 months so they need me to do a new one!
But I’m now thinking I’d like an outside opinion on my new eyes problems as I don’t feel I’m getting 100% honesty from OE.
Has anyone else had this sort of problem and if so was it fixed ?

Guest
Delith mckinnon says:
14 September 2014

They did the same to me and nearly 4 years down the line my eyes are worse than ever despite being assured by them my sight will improve, its been a nightmare and quite depressing, i wear dark glasses constantly due to all the problems and now my driving vision is very bad, they said i had 20 20 vision but my vision was so blurry and distorted i worried about driving my car. I trusted them!

Guest
John Blackwood says:
5 April 2016

My experience is similar with Optical express is that they advised me that i would have 20/20 vision i now have 20/30 which is worse than it was, they have had me going back and forth for 2 years, and had me trying glasses twice, contact lenses, settlement periods, and drops and other assessment appointments, aprox one a month for the 2 years.
And now they agree i should have had corrective surgery because the initial surgery has not done what they set out to give me, and what i had paid for, but now i am out of time for them to do it unless i pay again, even though i had explained and they agreed from early on that it has not worked, and i got independent consultations on my sight, O.E. say now i am out of time to get corrective surgery and i must now pay, Disgusted am left with 2 cheap pair of glasses and very poor vision, and less two thousand pounds, and no refund either.

Guest
tomlinbish says:
16 September 2014

I have not seen this site before today, and this is sadly yet another example of how these laser/refractive eye surgery procedures can utterly ruin peoples eyes and lives. I hope by posting this link that any people who are in any way contemplating having any sort of non essential refractive eye surgery will avoid the very real possibility of ending up like this. Yes, this is how bad things could get, and many patients end up even worse off than this man, as the comments on this thread indicate.

http://www.mikeslasikhell.com/my_story0.html

Guest
Debbie says:
16 September 2014

I had laser eye surgery on March 6th 2013,a decision I have regretted every day since! I had been struggling to wear my contact lenses for the last 3 years ( I could tolerate them for only a couple of hours), and decided to investigate whether I was suitable for LASIK. I visited Moorfields Eye Hospital for a consultation in November 2012. Having asked if my eyes were too dry for the procedure, I was told that they were not and that if I had dry eye following the operation there were great eye drops on the market these days! I trusted him to tell me if I was taking a risk and advise me accordingly. He told me I had blepharitis, meibomian gland disease and low tear film which in hindsight should have had alarm bells ringing! He allowed me to think that I was a straightforward case, but what he should have done is warned me that the procedure could make the blepharitis worse and in some cases cause burning and severe dry eye! This has now been added to his consent form, but sadly all too late for me! My eyes were never going to cope with this procedure!
I was given a very comprehensive consent form to read after my consultation but as none of the risks were highlighted in my consultation as being particularly relevant for my eyes, I believed that I was one of the many taking a very small risk – clearly not so! It is only when things go wrong that you realise that complications occur far more frequently than we have been led to believe, particularly since I was already starting with dry eyes, and living with it can at times be almost intolerable! I now have eyes that constantly burn, blurred vision, floaters – that are most distressing, haloes around lights, sensitivity to light, the list is endless! My eyes have been irreparably damaged, and I have to live with the knowledge that I chose to do this!
This industry falls short at the very beginning, patients who are deemed suitable for laser eye surgery but are clearly not, are not given all the facts they need to make an informed decision! Too many surgeons are willing to take a risk with your eyes, even the best of them! But it is not their risk to take, patients must be made fully aware of the risks and they must be discussed with relation to their particular eyes. My life now consists of eye bags, eye massage, omega eye tablets, steroid drops, artificial tears, eye goggles – there is not one second of my day that I do not think about my eyes!
If I can be deemed suitable for LASIK by one of the top surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital yet have such a distressing and painful outcome, then it can happen to anyone! The risks of laser eye surgery are serious and occur frequently! Please do not take the risk with your eyes and understand that going to a hospital based provider with a very good reputation does not guarantee you a successful outcome!

Guest

Hi Debbie,

I just wanted to know how your eyes are today.

I had lasek 2 weeks ago at Moorfields with a “top surgeon” and have regretted ever since. I too was deemed a “fit and suitable candidate”. Drops driving me mad. Am so gutted. Daily life currently is a chore. Eyes are the most precious organ and playing with them was the stupidest gamble of my life.

Liza

Profile photo of AR74
Guest

Hi Liza, did Debbie reply to you? My wife also had lasik back in Feb 2015 and is still struggling with dry eye every day, we’ve spend £££ on patches, gels, drops, steroids etc. Like you she was made to feel it was a simple process… She also went to Moorefields… Was it Mr Stevens you saw too? 🙁

Profile photo of Liza
Guest

Hi Andy,

Sorry it has taken me a long time to get back to you – I have only just seen your message. I am sorry to hear that your wife’s eyes are still suffering from persistent dry eyes as I know only too well how that feels! Are her eyes still dry? Debbie did not reply to my message.
Unfortunately, my case just got worse and worse – as a result of the operation (no it was not Mr Stevens but another top surgeon) I have been left anisometropic (long and short sighted so that I now have glasses with one long sighted lens and one short sighted lens) making all close up work and computer work really hard and giving me vertigo, tension headaches and fatigue, severe dry eyes and still putting drops and ointment throughout the day, starbursts at night on cars and lamp lights to the point that I need to look away, black floaters, twitching eye, ghosting on small LED lights, burning and prickling sensation, photophobia and sensitivity to wind and air con, flashing lights at night when I close my eyes… it has been absolute hell.
Similarly to Debbie, I too was told “not to worry” and “to be patient”. The surgeon is only now starting to admit that I have optical defects as a direct result of the laser and even went as far as saying that he wished he had never operated on me and that I have been unlucky. Often, the reaction that I received from this surgeon and his optometrist was one of embarrassment. They are so used to seeing successful cases that when something does go wrong, they do not know how to react with empathy, support and accountability. I have been written off work for some time now.
For anybody is considering this life-changing operation, let me just say one thing: this operation is irreversible. You cannot get back your healthy eyes. And once the damage is done, no surgeon can help you out. It does become a handicap and worst thing is that it is elective.
Learning to live with this is the hardest thing to have to go through, even if you have the loveliest family and friends. This operation has shaken up my little life in the worst way possible. Unlike the flu or a broken arm where you might have a time frame to get better, complications following eye laser surgery are totally uncontrollable and unpredictable. The unknown is terrifying.
Seriously, do not do it.

Guest

Dear Liza, I’m sorry to hear your story. It brought tears to my eyes. I feel as if what you said is the story of my life since my lasek surgery 10 weeks ago. How I wish I could go back in time??? I too had my surgery by a top consultant at Moorfields. I’m still off sick from work and cry every single day because I don’t know if I’ll ever get better. I’m back in glasses which I don’t even mind but I have severe dry eyes that’s making my life hell. Did ur dry eyes ever get better??? I just hope this dryness settles so I can get on with my life as a normal person. I pray that we heal with time.. as you said family and friends are amazing but nothing/no one can stop me from thinking about my eyes every second of the day.

Guest

I would not consider eye surgery with Optical Express ever. I was considering it after recommendation from two friends and I had a very negative experience with them. It went as far as me going in for laser eye surgery only to be told I couldn’t have it on the day. Since then there has been poor communication, bad customer service and they are also refusing to return my deposit. They kept me in the dark about why I couldn’t have the procedure and any explanations were half baked. I was told to take eye drops and come in for more scans. When I did, it was totally disorganised. I was kept waiting for ages and when I was called in the person didn’t know how to even swtich the machine on and I was told go to back to the waiting area. After this, I would not ever consider surgery with them.

I am appalled at how many people have been treated badly by Optical Express.

[This comment has been slightly edited for breaking our guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Guest
Rafael Medina says:
20 September 2014

I’m from Mexico City. I did LASIK 6 years ago, and it was the worst mistake of my life. I se 20/20 but before LASIK had no dry eye, after the surgery I suffer from severe chronic dry eye, every 30 minutes I have to use lubricating drops to counteract pain and dry eyes. I can not read or use the computer for more than 15 minutes, go outside with wind or sun, air conditioning kills me, at night my eyes are so tired I can not stand the dryness.

I have used all the lubricants market drops, absolutely all, what a waste of money. If something is worse, I can not work for more than 4 hours. My quality of life is an absolute misery after LASIK. I spend 200 dollars for drops every month. (Nowadays I am using Systane ultra free preservative)

Guest
RobbaBanks says:
20 September 2014

Your experience is so so common. I clearly explained to Optical Express that I had concerns about my history of dry eyes.I have been told independent surgeon that because of this I was not suitable for surgery…so why did Optical Express tell me that my dry eyes would not be a problem at all and why did they tell me that surgery would cure my symptoms?? I now have very debilitating severe dry eyes.

A message to anyone considering laser eye surgery : dry eye syndrome is not merely a minor complaint easily cureable with drops…it is a life changing, debilitating problem which is difficult to alleviate however many drops gels lotions and potions you take. And contrary to what companies like Optical Express will tell you…it is not a problem which will go away after just a few weeks!

[This comment has been slightly edited to align with our T&Cs. Thanks, mods]

Guest
Big Mike says:
23 June 2015

I concur with the above and it is approximately 6 years now since I had both eyes done in Optical Express in Glasgow. Big mistake had the above problems alongside Glaucoma both eyes, cataract removed from left eye still a young(ish) man. And like someone above says there is not a day goes by that I do not think about my eyes particularly the left it is like there is grit in it all the time. The dry eye is suppose. No one informed me that Lasik reduces the thickness of the wall of the eye and thus major problems.

They should be made to pay for the pain and suffering they have caused so many people.

Guest
RobbaBanks says:
21 September 2014

I think Optical Express picked up on my concerns with my dry eyes which had made me intolerable to contact lenses which made it awkward to contemplate the snorkelling holiday my husband and I wanted to go on.
Persistent long term dry eyes and contact lens intolerance should have absolutely rang ALARM BALLS…….but to Optical Express NO! because this was my NUGGET. They really went to town on my nugget saying that surgery would cure my dry eyes and my previous history would not be a problem at all. My clarity of vision would be superb and so the snorkelling would be excellent, but of course I would have to hurry up if I wanted to have sufficient recovery time before the dates we were considering for our holiday …. and of course slots were getting booked up at my nearest convenient clinic – ..better hurry then and just to make sure if I booked there and then I would ensure a slot and get some discount in the bargain !!
Should have opted for the prescription snorkel mask which was the other alternative ( not from Optical Express of course because in my subsequent experience they cannot get a pair of glasses ringtone never mind surgery)

[This comment has been edited to align with our T&Cs. Thanks, mods]

Guest

Best advice I can give anyone getting or who has just got corrective surgery – insist on proper aftercare and if you don’t get it, pay for it! Otherwise you could end up like me, with permanent sight damage.
I can safely say that Lazer eye surgery has ruined my life. I had LASIK with Ultralase in Belfast back in 2010. I went for Ultra Elite – the best surgery with a lifetime guarantee. The surgery went fine and for the first 6 months my vision was perfect. After 6 months I started to notice issues with my right eye, so I went back to the Clinic in Belfast and expressed my concerns. After a pretty basic exam I was told the eye was fine and was just settling down. To leave it for a year or so and if the vision got worse they would redo the operation. The vision wavered over the next year and eventually got worse and worse. I tried to get other follow up appointments but by that stage Ultralase had folded and the lifetime guarantee was worthless. Long story short – the operation had left me with a very low level inflammation in my right eye which the aftercare appointments failed to find. Over time this created pressure in the eye which both damaged my optic nerve and my cornea. It wasn’t until I got taken seriously by the National Health Service and finally got sent to a Glaucoma Clinic that I was diagnosed. A year on and I am still on steroid drops to keep the inflammation at bay and the vision in my right eye is permanently blurred – nothing will ever fix it – glasses, operations, medication, nothing will restore my sight. I don’t blame the surgeon or the operation – I blame the aftercare. After they had my money the clinic didn’t give a damn about me and paid it lip service. If they had done their job then chances are I would have perfect vision now. The maddening thing for me is that even though Ultralase has folder, the Clinic that did the operation is still going. I only hope they offer better aftercare now to their patients than they did for me.

Guest
RobbaBanks says:
26 September 2014

For anyone still considering refractive eye surgery with Optical Express despite having read some of the threads on this topic please look at :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11124065/Optical-Express-ordered-to-pay-woman-500000-for-damaged-eyesight.html

Guest
RobbaBanks says:
28 September 2014

Thanks for your insider observation. Yes it would certainly seem so from the job adverts. Even in the ads for OPTOMs ( like those for sales Counsellors) the emphasis is on the ability to persuade and close a deal – medical/Optom skills appear to take a poor back seat.

In your experience are the OPTOMs encouraged to make the tests ‘fit’ to ensure clients are suitable.It certainly appeared to be the case for me. The dishonesty is astounding.

Profile photo of Sasha Rodoy aka My Beautiful Eyes
Guest

On Friday 26 September 2014, Judge Edward Bailey set a precedent when he ruled in favour of 28 yr old Stephanie Holloway’s claim against surgeon Dr Joanna McGraw and Optical Express (DCM Holdings Ltd).

Stephanie’s eyesight was damaged as result of PRK laser eye surgery in 2008, when she was only 21 yrs old.

Stephanie always maintained that she had not been fully informed of the risks of surgery, and her legal case was entirely based on lack of informed consent.

I sat through the trial, which lasted eight days, and was almost as anxious as Stephanie for a favourable decision, because I knew it could change things for untold numbers of people damaged by Optical Express.

If you have problems after laser or RLE surgery and would like advice, please contact me via my website or Facebook page.

[This comment has been edited for breaking our guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Guest
Ex employee says:
30 September 2014

OE will do anything to get money from their patients. The Optoms have targets too and I know lots of good Optoms have left because of the sales element. My post was removed about when I mentioned that a patient found unsuitable by one surgeon was be passed to another surgeon for a so called second opinion and then treated. The staff use to have to call head office if the surgeon cancelled a patient and explain to the sales support manager, who had no clinical background. Cancellations were not tolerated as it was a lost sale. Anyone who works or worked for OE should support this post.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Guest
Guest
tomlinbish says:
1 October 2014

If anyone thinks it’s only high st clinics that ruin peoples eyes, then think again ! This is a truly shocking horror case, which seems to have involved a total lack of proper clinical care.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2772267/Patient-left-blind-exhausted-surgeon-collapses-op-Elderly-woman-suing-world-famous-Moorfields-Eye-Hospital-incident.html

Guest
Debbie says:
1 October 2014

It’s certainly not just the high street clinics that ruin lives! I too was treated at Moorfields by one of their top surgeons and have suffered from severe dry eyes, floaters and blurred vision! I was not a straight forward case as I was led to believe since I already suffered from dry eyes ( almost contact lens intolerant!), I should have been warned that I was taking a bigger risk with my eyes. As with everyone who is posting here, the risks were not discussed with us, we certainly did not give informed consent! Every day is a battle to deal with the pain and reduced clarity of vision! It’s hard to believe that a procedure that is offered so readily can have such a devastating outcome! LASIK is not safe full stop!

Guest
fred warwick says:
17 November 2014

Hi Debbie

I can’t find your latest post on the website so am replying to an earlier one.

Thank you for the information I received.

May I ask have you been back to Moorfields, and if so what did they say?

Guest
CameronB says:
2 October 2014

I wore contact lenses for 20 years with no history of eye problems. After LASIK last year with Optical Express in Scotland I now suffer from dry eye, floaters, blinding headaches, impossible to drive at night. Have to wear sunglasses virtually all the time with exception of when wearing the 2 pairs of glasses i’ve been given to correct my reading and distance. My daily routine now includes 2 types of prescribed oral medication, 2 types of eye drops and also eye ointment.
I’ve lost my job and unable to work now due to my overall ill health and has ruined me financially, its changed my life for the absolute worse. My story is similar to others here, I now know i’m not alone.
High Street companies with profit as priority need to stop playing roulette with peoples health.

Guest
Gail woods says:
25 April 2015

Hi can you tell me where in Scotland and what type of surgery you had and if possible who the surgeon was? I hope you have some relief and improvement

Guest
Fred says:
3 October 2014

My son is contemplating laser surgery so I am gathering information.

I have been through most of the comments and cannot find one that praises laser surgery. I find it really difficult to believe this to be a representative cross section of opinion.

Is it only the people who have bad experiences can be bothered to comment??

I just wonder what the split is between success and failure of vision correction. Does anybody (unbiased) quote these figures?

Guest
Michelle says:
3 October 2014

I think it comes down to whether or not your son is willing to take that risk and end up like those suffering terrible side effects. It’s his eyes, and you only get one pair of eyes, why would you risk healthy eyes for an unnecessary procedure that may cause long term life impacting side effects. And please also bear in mind that even those that believe they are a success and will rave about it to you, the truth is, the long term side effects of many of these procedures, e.g. Lasik is unknown, so they may not be happy in the future or even in a few years when their eyesight begins to deteriorate

Guest
tomlinbish says:
3 October 2014

If I had been able to find out the truth about laser/refractive eye surgery in 2000 as has been posted on this thread, there’s no way I would have risked my eyes being ruined. Many here didn’t have this real info,’ you do, so please do not let your son risk his eyes and life being utterly ruined ! The question he must ponder is- “can I cope with the worst case scenario”?, because that is what he could suffer with for the rest of his life !

Profile photo of Sasha Rodoy aka My Beautiful Eyes
Guest

There are no available statistics, one of the central issues of My Beautiful Eyes Campaign calling for government legislation.

I advise you heed so many people who take time out to warn others of the likely complications and side effects of laser eye surgery (and RLE). Do you think any of them (me included) would have undergone surgery had we been advised of the very real risks NOT explained by the high street clinics?!

Of course your son could be one of the successes, but he could also join the tens of thousands whose eyes are irreparably damaged for life. NB: This according to the high street clinics own statistics claiming 99% success rate!

I was contacted earlier today by a young woman left with problems, whose parents are devastated by the fact that they pushed their daughter to have surgery.

If you would like further information please contact me via My Beautiful Eyes website.

Guest
Pete says:
3 October 2014

Hi Fred. As with others, I can only comment from my own experiences.
My LASIK in 2010 and the complications which ensued have ruined the vision in my right eye permanently. This can’t be corrected with glasses or fixed with an operation. I wanted perfect vision without glasses. Instead I have been left with one good eye, which I have to have checked every six months to ensure that further complications don’t develop.
All I can advise is that you do your due diligence, weight up the risks and benefits and consider what COULD happen to your son. Then make your decision.
If your son does have the procedure, especially if it LASIK, make sure he has proper after case. I would STRONGLY advise him to get his eyes checked every 6 months after, especially for IOP (eye pressure). High pressure in the eye, even for a few months, combined with a procedure like LASIK, which thins the cornea and makes it less resilient to pressure, can cause the cornea to change shape. And, alas, this can’t be corrected. That is why checkups are so important.

Guest
fred warwick says:
13 November 2014

Thank you all for your comments.
So that my son can make the judgment (he is a man not a boy) I have referred him to this forum and he has read the posts.
Given his vision problems he has decided to have a full consultation with a top Moorfields surgeon, after which he will make his decision. The reason I am posting this is to seek any advice on what questions he should ask. I have already advised him to ask the surgeon if he has read this forum and if so what he thinks about it.

Thank you

Guest
tomlinbish says:
13 November 2014

If after reading all that could go wrong from these surgeries and the daily horror that peoples lives can become, I would think anyone would be extremely misguided to say the least to consider having what are very risky operations. Fred, if your son has no clinical eye problems and only needs contacts or glasses he should leave well alone. Once eyes are ruined, they stay ruined ! Can your son afford to have his employment prospects and whole quality of life ruined for the rest of his living days ? I have no questions that should be asked of the surgeon as he shouldn’t even put a foot through the door. Be bright, and save your sight !

Guest

Hi Fred
Get him to ask about aftercare. I can’t stress the importance of this enough.
If I had had the proper aftercare then I would still have good vision today.
But the fact is the operation left me with a low level inflammation in which didn’t go away and over a period of time caused the permanent damage. The clinic gave me no steroid drops after the op, which I’m now told they should have, and they also failed to spot the inflammation at any of my follow up appointments, including an extra one where I expressed concerns because I felt something wasn’t quite right.
If your son does go ahead with the op, make sure they do a proper assessment of the eyes the next day (if possible), next week, two weeks, a month and 6 months, and I mean a proper assessment where they look in the eye and measure pressure, not just a regular eye test which I was fobbed off with.
Get them to measure his eye pressure now (known as IOP) and tell him what it is, so he has a baseline to compare it with later on. Then have him go for regular checkups, AT LEAST once a year. A regular optician will do it ok. Just ask them to measure the eye pressure and tell him what it is each time so he can track it. If there’s any real increase in the number for either or both eyes, then get him to go see a GP and ask for a referral to a Glaucoma Clinic and get the cause checked. Please make sure he does this – its a bit of extra hassle I know, but the alternative can be ending up with permanently damaged sight that nothing can fix!

Guest
fred warwick says:
14 November 2014

Hi Pete

thank you for taking the time to give such a balanced and informative reply.

Fred

Guest
tomlinbish says:
14 November 2014

I will not comment any further on this than to say that like countless tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, the so-called best aftercare can do nothing, and I really mean nothing, if serious problems occur as a result of having elective refractive eye surgery. It appears that some people can be literally ‘seduced’ by the appeal of these surgeries into thinking they can be inherently safe if you go to a so-called top level surgeon/clinic. If I had children, I would physically stop them from going and risking having their most precious sense utterly trashed! You might gamble on a horse race, but eyesight! I make no apologies for spelling it out like it really is in this post, as my eyes were ruined in 2000, and these eye butchers are still doing it. Do you really think the eye surgeon who may ruin your sons eyes will have a shred of guilt afterwards ? Highly unlikely, when the financial gains are so big.

Guest
fred warwick says:
8 January 2015

Just to update this thread.
My son has had his consultation with a top Moorfields surgeon and was assured that he was suitable for surgery.
The surgeon was confident that the risks were minimal, and that this was a routine procedure and if by any chance things went wrong, Moorfields have the capability to put things right.
Having considered his meeting with the surgeon he felt that there was a possibility that the risks had been underplayed and has therefore decided against surgery.
We are grateful for all the objective advice and comments that have been given on this forum.
Thank you.

Guest
Shaun says:
15 October 2014

I am aged 50 and do not have cataracts.

I went to Optical Express at Sheffield for information about Refractive Lens Exchange surgery in September.

The optometrist examined my eyes and told me that I was definitely suitable. I paid £3,500 after being given a discount.

I went to Bridgewater Hospital on the 1st October for the first operation. I was actually outside the operating theatre – pen mark on left eye – when the surgeon took a quick look at my eyes and said he was not happy to proceed because he saw a scar and wanted a second opinion before he’d go ahead.

He referred me to an independent specialist and told me this would cost £210 which they would refund if he said I was suitable for surgery. I saw the specialist on the 3rd October and he told me I did have a retinal scar and was unsuitable for RLE surgery.

I called Optical Express to be told they would give me a full refund, but it would take up to 28 days. They also said they would not refund the £210 I had paid.

This raises serious concerns and questions.

1. The optometrist said I was OK to go ahead with RLE after examining my eyes. WHY did she say this if I have a retinal scar ?

2. If she is professionally trained to take responsibility for examining patient’s eyes and approving them for surgery why did she not see what the surgeon saw?

3. I have read that the Optical Express optoms and sales staff work hand in hand to sell as many procedures as they can. The clinic was very busy on the day I was due to have my operation so what if the surgeon had not noticed my scarring and had gone ahead?

These optoms are working for commission fees instead of for the good of the patient! I spoke to Sasha Rodoy (My Beautiful Eyes) and have given her permission to give my information to the General Optical Council as I believe the optometrist was negligent in advising me to undergo RLE surgery.

I have asked OE to refund my money immediately but they are telling me I have to wait 28 days, yet they took my money immediately!

I also want the £210 refunding because if the optometrist had done her job properly initially I wouldn’t have needed to see the specialist!

Guest
RobbaBanks says:
17 October 2014

Hi Shaun..the GOC are listening to complaints and the more people complain the more likelyhood of them taking action. The GOC are currently investigating 2 Optometrists who I have reported. I have also followed up complaints with links to recent press publicity. Encouragingly they thanked me for the information and have told me that they are have already ‘noted’ said press reports. Hopefully they will be considering investigating the dubious practices of companies like Optical Express generally as well as the actions of its individual members.

Please report your case to the GOC…it is quite easy to do this first hand direct. Even if you report it via a third party, the GOC will probably still come back to you for your account.

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Guest

Damaging eyes through alleged lack of competence seems not to be confined to the high street. Private Eye reports that Vanguard Healthcare – a private health firm – carried out routing cataract operations for an NHS hospital but was suspended after “dozens of NHS patients were left in pain with impaired vision and swollen eyes”.
It would be interesting to hear from professionals in this field just why these problems arise. Is it lack of competence or are the procedures more risky than we assume? Cataract operations are for many people essential to prevent blindness, not a convenient way to correct abnormal vision, and as far as I was aware are generally successful. So is the lack of regulation something that needs addressing urgently in the commercial sector ?

Guest
Debbie says:
16 November 2014

Hi Fred,
I was very worried to hear that after all the information on this website your son is still considering laser eye surgery. I also went to a top consultant and thought I was in safe hands, however I now know that despite the expertise of your surgeon if your eyes are not suitable for the procedure there is nothing they can do to stop the inevitable happening! For the lucky ones laser eye surgery can be a success, but trust me it is not worth the risk! There is not a second that goes by that I wish I had not walked in to the surgeon’s office in November 2012! My eyes were almost intolerant of contact lenses so I went expecting to be told that my eyes were too dry for the procedure, instead I was given no cause for concern, risks were not discussed with me despite the fact that I questioned them about my dry eyes, my worries were simply brushed to one side and I was told that there were excellent drops on the market these days! I was given a detailed booklet on the risks to read on my way out of his office, but as these had not been brought to may attention during the consultation I believed I was safe to proceed. I clearly was not and should have been warned of the increased risk I was taking!
I now live with severe dry eyes that burn constantly, reduced clarity of vision ( feeling like I spend my life looking through dirty contact lenses!) and floaters. I cannot begin to explain what this has done to my once happy life. Going to a top consultant will not guarantee success or the truth! The real risks of laser eye surgery are documented here, I wish I had had the opportunity to read such stories before proceeding with an elective operation which has ruined my eyes and had a devastating effect on my life. I battle through each day, trying so hard to stay positive and strong. Please do not allow your son to take the risk I took, these consultants are very good at glossing over the many, real risks of this surgery.

[This comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Guest
fred warwick says:
17 November 2014

Hi Debbie

Thank you for this information. May I ask have if you went back to the consultant/hospital that you mentioned before it was edited out, and if so what did they say?

Thank you

Guest
Debbie says:
17 November 2014

Hi Fred,
Yes I have returned to Moorfields many times, and to be fair the consultant spent a good deal of time with me, but the damage had been done! There is very little that can be done for dry eyes, and believe me I have tried everything! Nothing alleviates the pain and discomfort. I have tried countless over the counter eye drops, steroid drops, omega eye tablets, doxycycline tablets, heating my eyes with a blephasteam and massaging the glands twice a day, keeping the eyelids clean with baby shampoo or blephasol… the list is endless! The bottom line is that I should not have had the procedure done! Aftercare means nothing if they are not able to put right what went wrong, unfortunately ( and this is something I am trying hard to come to terms with) I will have this problem for the rest of my life.
I was told that I had 20/20 vision, so on their books I may look like a success, however the fact is that I had to strain to make out the letters that were not crisp and sharp as they had once been with my glasses, most of the time my vision is blurred and I am constantly blinking to try to clear it. The optometrist and consultant are very clever in the way they manipulate what you tell them to make it sound as if what your are experiencing is completely normal and that most people would be pleased with the outcome! They basically do not want to admit that the procedure has not been a success. It took many meetings before the consultant finally agreed that he should have turned me away! My question is how many people worldwide are being subjected to laser eye surgery for which they are not suitable? If a top Moorfields surgeon can allow me to proceed with surgery that has permanently damaged my eyes it could happen to anyone! I firmly believe that this surgery should be stopped in its tracks and not offered to the public unless it is the only option left to save your sight!

Profile photo of Liza
Guest

Hi Debbie,

Did you ever consider going down a legal route?
I got the same reaction from my surgeon and his team and was made to feel that what I was experiencing was the norm and that I ought to be grateful(!) for the outcome.
How are your eyes today?

Guest
fred warwick says:
17 November 2014

Thanks Debbie

I have passed your posts to my son to read.

I do so hope something comes along to alleviate your suffering.

Best wishes

Guest
Julie says:
17 November 2014

Hello Fred,

Just to add to what Debbie has been telling you, I also have damaged eyes as a result of RLE with Optical Express. I had a retinal detachment (repaired on the NHS) in the left eye followed by further surgery to correct complications from the detachment. I now technically have 20/20 vision, just like Debbie, but I struggle every day with getting my eyes to work together, they’ve been so distorted by the original surgery and then the complications from the detachment. The OE optom failed to recognise the limits of his competence and declared there was nothing wrong with my eyes when in fact, I had a retinal tear in situ. If he had referred me to the local eye hospital for a proper assessment, the tear would have been found long before it became a detachment and it would have been repaired without the damage my eye has now sustained.

The point of my post, though is to say that I saw a refractive specialist privately who warned me off having laser surgery and I am so glad I did. I was due to have laser on my right eye at OE (I still trusted them at this point) but cancelled at the last minute. I owe my mostly decent right eye to his advice. I could have been having similar problem as Debbie had I gone ahead. I am sure you won’t be considering any voluntary eye surgery now, but if you still were, please heed our advice! Wearing glasses is preferable to having your eyes mucked up for life. I now have to wear them most of the time again, so I’ve spent £3,500.00 on having my eyes damaged for life. I so wish I could turn back the clock.

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Guest

I received this email from an obscure address, with an unsubscribe PO Box number in Athens. Invited to win a prize of laser eye surgery.
Don’t know what all the fuss is about – clearly a professional business. I wonder if its statistics have been audited though? And is the laser eye surgery 2nd prize – with first prize not winning it?

email:
“Make laser eye surgery one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2015.

More than 99% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better* following surgery and based on a survey of 252,179 patient responses, over 99% of our patients would recommend Optical Express to their friends and family.**

Many treated patients said it was one of the best decisions that they have made in their life. Why not make it yours!

*99.1% of Optical Express patients achieve 20/20 vision or better following laser eye surgery. Based on a study of 336,381 patients, September 2014.
**Based on a study of 252,179 patients, September 2014 “

Guest
Emily Merrell says:
12 February 2015

Thank you so much for this information. I think that it is always good to see both sides of the issue. I have been thinking about getting lasik eye surgery for a couple of weeks now. On tv you hear only good things about it. I assumed that there was some risk, as there is in every surgical procedure. This really helps me to know what I’m getting myself into better.

Guest
Sharon madigan says:
3 June 2015

My vision is damaged by lasek surgery im now classed disabled nHS have treated me &run tests but can not fix this ..i wasn’t told anything of the dangers i was rushed to fill forms out about 5mins before surgery as they forgot to send me files from what they claim i also had dilated eyes when signing & yes i signed somehow!! As i was under pressure to do so ..suring my procedure something foreign went in my eye too .. Iooks like i cant claim against them after 2years of my solicitor investigating my claim because i signed a contract no matter how or what conditions i signed i have also problems in proving it..NHS wont say that my eyes are damaged by laser as its nhs policies not too?? This i find confusing … I need help july is my cut off dead line .

Written on behalf for sharon

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Guest

Hi everybody,

After reading all the above comments, I just wanted to ask all the UK residents and in particular those living in London whether anybody would be interested in starting a support network group ? (Debbie and Andy’s girlfriend, I’m not sure if you will visit this site again, but I too went to Moorfields and suffer from post lasek complications that make daily life very difficult.)
Once I started searching on the internet, I found that the States are way ahead in providing invaluable advice, support and information through groups such as vision surgery rehab network:
http://www.visionsurgeryrehab.org/
http://visionsurgeryrehab.evecommunity.com/eve/forums/a/frm/f/6541031211
On these, you’ll find that people share their stories and even meet up informally now and again for support and reassurance that things will get better. Personally, I think it would be so helpful to have a network of people who can immediately relate to what I am going through. Many people have empathy for a person with a broken arm or someone with flu but post laser complications can be a very difficult thing to explain to those who haven’t been through it. As much as my family and friends have shouldered me through the tough times and continue to do so, to know that there is a group of people in the UK who know exactly what to say and know exactly what I am feeling, would be wonderfully comforting.
Anybody interested? And it doesn’t always have to be about depressing stories, we can also talk about what does work, possible solutions, and how to move forward with this debilitating condition.
It would be great to get to a stage where our eyes are no longer our first and last thoughts of the day!
Dry eyes sufferers, go to this website for advice:
http://www.dryeyezone.com/talk/forum/community-resources/our-dry-eye-stories/1385-6-months-post-epi-lasek-induced-dry-eyes
Hope to hear from you soon – even if it’s just one person out there!
Take care,
Liza
ps. Sharon, any news on your front about the law suit?

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Guest

While not involved with lasik I do have Glaucoma and I was told cataract . I was told I had extremely high eye pressure that needed attended to I went to the local hospital where my eyes werent as bad as made out but having checked on US websites as to what would happen if I didnt do something about the high pressure I had laser treatment to my tear ducks as they were blocked allowing the build up in pressure to be perfectly frank holes were “drilled ” in my irises to allow for drainage after the operation my right eye was very sore it took 4 days to die down . Now several weeks later I can now see more clearly so it was a success, before the op with new glasses I got tested in the hospital right eye 6/6 left eye 5/6 but I was told I need to attend in a month to check on the op-ie pressure on the eyes ,as everybody here say there is nothing more precious than your eyesight.

Guest

That would be a great idea… I hope you guys managed to start a group