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What happened to Optical Express’ ‘lifetime’ guarantee?

Eye

Were you offered ‘lifetime aftercare’ before agreeing to laser eye surgery with Optical Express? The campaigner Sasha Rodoy shares stories from hundreds of patients who say this has now turned into ’12 month aftercare’…

Since 2012, both as campaigner and patient advocate, I have spoken with thousands of people wanting advice or help following laser eye surgery.

Over the last few weeks hundreds of Optical Express patients have contacted me, left in shock after trying to book appointments only to be told that they will no longer receive free aftercare of any description. Each of them have told me that they were offered either free ‘lifetime’ or ‘unlimited’ aftercare. And I’m sure there are thousands more to come when they discover this change in policy.

Free lifetime aftercare

Neil told me:

‘We have just been told that my wife will now be required to pay for eye tests and products by Optical Express. We were told when we signed up for the treatment in Nov 2013 that we were not to worry as the treatment was covered by their Free Lifetime Aftercare Guarantee and so far they have honoured this for the past 2 years and 5 months.’

Paul has also suffered:

‘After surgery in 2012 I cannot see at night or in low light. Optical Express prescribed pilocarpine which allowed me to drive and commute to work, but now they have told me they will no longer supply this. Without help I am really at my wits end, it is affecting me mentally and has affected my marriage. I have become a recluse suffering from eye strain and headaches dreading not being able to see when dusk comes.’

Optical Express responds

An Optical Express spokesperson said last week:

‘For a period of time in 2009 we offered free lifetime aftercare to our laser eye surgery patients. As technology developed and the procedure became even more successful, it became clear to our Medical Advisors that the vast majority of patients only required aftercare in the early stages following their surgery. In October 2009, we changed our terms and conditions to offer 12 months of free aftercare instead.’

However, there is too much anecdotal evidence that a promise of lifetime aftercare was the reason many people chose to get laser eye survey with Optical Express. People like Hannah:

‘I had laser eye surgery with Optical Express three years ago and was promised FREE lifetime aftercare. However I’m now being told that I have to pay £50 for an eye test? Optical Express claim that it’s in my terms and conditions that my free aftercare is only for two years. However I was promised FREE eye care after surgery for LIFE!’

Laser eye surgery T&Cs

Although Optical Express claims that the need for long-term aftercare is small, what about those who do need aftercare beyond 12 months? Let alone the fact that so many people have said they were sold ‘lifetime’ aftercare after October 2009.

Some of the people who have received free aftercare far beyond 12 months post op are now apparently being told that this was a ‘goodwill gesture’.

In fact, I have a number of different versions of Optical Express’ T&Cs. A November 2014 copy states that there will be free aftercare consultations for 24 months, and a July 2013 copy states 36 months. Therefore, free ’12 month’ aftercare doesn’t seem to be the standard since 2009. Some patients have said they weren’t ever given T&Cs, and when they’ve asked Optical Express for a copy of them they have been asked to pay anywhere from £10-50 for them.

If Optical Express refuse aftercare then it falls on the NHS to do so – in fact I’ve heard from a number of patients who have had to go to their GP for medication, and referrals for reparative surgery.

Did you get laser eye surgery with Optical Express? Were you promised free ‘lifetime’ or ‘unlimited’ aftercare? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And if you have a copy of your terms and conditions, please send to the Which? Conversation team at conversation.comments@which.co.uk

This is a guest contribution by Sasha Rodoy. All opinions are her own, not necessarily those of Which?

Comments
Guest
Rick Collins says:
29 June 2017

I also had lens replacement surgery on both eyes. I have always had problems with my right eye since the operation and I was informed that the symptoms would get better over time whenever I had an eye test. My left eye has become a lot better with time but my view in my right eye has a slight haze now. I was informed before I had any surgery on my eyes that the aftercare would be free for life and that a haziness may develop in the later stages of recovery and it would be an easy fix. I went to Optical Express to have my eye check out and to my amazement was told that I now had to pay £50 for a test, and that any surgery would be at a cost to me of around £400. This I found as disgraceful and if there is any chance I can sue Optical Express I will. I cannot stand companies that lie just to get your money. I will be checking the policy I received from Optical Express again just to make sure and see if I have a case.

Guest

Rick I sympathise with your case but as I have just replied to another poster on nearly the same lines , the legal situation is that while you can have a binding legal oral contract when it gets to the court stage you have to prove in writing and / or taped conversation that they agreed to those conditions . That haziness could be a result of a slight cataract due to laser surgery ( if that was used ) I had to sign a disclaimer when I went for laser treatment for narrow angle glaucoma and yes it caused some cataract development.

Guest

Hi Duncan,
I do have this in writing and I will be seeing another Optician for a second opinion, as I do not trust Optical Express to tell me the truth. I have to say that I have lost all confidence in them.
Concerning the comment, “haziness could be a result of a slight cataract due to laser surgery”. I did say that I had Lens Replacement Surgery to both eyes, so cataract should not be an issue, That’s what Optical express said to me. Should I believe that? I not so sure.

Guest

Hello Rick thanks for replying and sorry I picked it up wrong ,in that case you will need laser treatment to the actual lens , I take it you have never had cornea eye correction to save wearing glasses where a chip is cut off the cornea as it can cause major problems in later life ? A friend I know had to go back to the NHS to get the lens corrected for some slight blurring. If you have a written statement to the effect that your treatment is guaranteed for a number of years then that is a powerful piece of evidence in a court of law , most posters on this convo no longer have that evidence .

Guest

Thats ok Duncan,
You are right I have not had cornea eye correction.
Optical Express did say that there was a procedure to clear the haze in my right eye but i have forgot want it was called due to the shock of hearing about the changes they made to their guarantee.
Fortunately I do have the evidence. I will let you know how I get on.

Guest

I appreciate you replying Rick , many dont , I look forward to your next post -thanks !

Guest

Hi Rick (and anyone else w similar problems)…

Contact me for help and/or advice, and visit OERML website forum for more info.
sasha@mybeautifuleyes.co.uk
info@opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk
NB: Please include your phone number

Guest
Rich says:
24 October 2017

Hi Rick
I have the same problem but with my left eye
I actually paid a premium for the lifetime guarantee when I had the original surgery
But again after asking them to check out my left eye they want £50
They said check your terms and conditions
I could not put my hand on a copy and they now want £50 to supply with a copy
I also missed an eye test as I was out of the country and according to optical express invalidates your guarantee
Hopefully soon there will be some legal firm that will take up the misselling of this guarantee
A bit like PPI
Cheers
Rich