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March 25, 2021 at 7:34 pm #582NeerjaGuest
I had implantable contact lenses in 2005, my surgery went well and I have had 20/20 vision since. I attended aftercare appointments with a consultant until 2009, as all was fine 4 years after I had my surgery I decided to have regular checkups/eye tests at my opticians rather than going to Optimax, none of my eye tests detected any problems with my sight.
11 years after my surgery I received a letter in 2016 stating that I needed a ECC (Endothelial cell count) check. Back then the letter left me very confused as I had never been made aware of this risk, and thought that it must be a general letter and didn’t apply to me due to the fact that this risk had never been explained to me during my aftercare appointments.
I believe that a consultant should have called me to explain this new risk and the implications of it so that immediate checks and recommendations could be made in a timely manner. I do believe that Optimax had a legal, moral and ethical duty to inform me of this new risk in a better manner than they did. As I thought this may not be applicable to me so I disregarded the letter.
In February 2021 I received the same letter, so I decided to book an appointment with Optimax at a charge of £35. My appointment date was Friday 19th March 2021 where I underwent an Endothelial cell count check (ECC). The consultant told me that my cell count in my left eye was very low, only 665 cells, and that also the lens clip towards my nose had come out of place. This means that I now have to remove the ICL from my left eye otherwise it could cause serious problems. Then I would have to go back to using contact lenses in my left eye.This is negatively life changing for me.
The lack of communication from Optimax has left me in a compromising situation where I am having to undergo life changing surgery which could have been avoided if Optimax had been more diligent with their communication, ensuring they make contact with every patient like me to explain these new risks rather than just send a letter out of the blue; I do not accept this was good enough.
I am now left feeling anxious and very upset, unable to eat or sleep properly as this situation has severely affected me psychologically. I intend to seek medical advice as I am finding it difficult to come to terms with this situation and do not believe that Optimax have taken accountability for their actions.
I was asked to attend an appointment with the Medical Director, Dr Llango, on Monday 22nd March and I was horrified to learn from him that the lens in my left eye had moved due to the pupil contracting and forcing the lens to move up and down. I believe it may have not been secured properly during the surgery, in turn causing this irreversible damage to my eye.
I have contacted Optimax, and have requested they provide a copy of my original consent form, as I am 100% sure that this ECC risk was not included in the form when I underwent my surgery in 2005. I have also asked them to forward me my ECC readings from 2005 to 2009, as I am certain they were never conducted or ever discussed with me during my pre-op or aftercare appointments.
I have informed Optimax that I would like to speak to a doctor with regards to the long term effects the low Endothelial cell count will have on my sight in the future as I am extremely worried. I would also like Optimax to review my case thoroughly and provide me with answers as to why this was allowed to happen.
My surgery date to explant my lens has been set for Wednesday 14th April, I am hoping to see someone for a second opinion before the op. Any advice would be gratefully received!!
I highly recommend that you contact Sasha Rodoy (Patient Advocate at My Beautiful Eyes Foundation) who will be able to advise you.
Please come back to update us.
April 22, 2021 at 8:48 am #718NeerjaGuest
It’s been 8 days since I went back to Optimax for my lens explant, the worst experience of my life! I am still in disbelief, and I was scared and dreading the procedure but I knew that I had to go through with it even though it was the last thing I wanted.
Before I underwent the implant surgery in 2005 I was informed that the ICL could only move out of place if I received a blow to the eye, but so many years later I have now been told that it can be dislocated by simply rubbing the eyes. Why was I not told this beforehand? I was misinformed and given a false sense of security.
Before my explant surgery I was given anaesthetic drops and an injection in the eye, but I could see the procedure being performed, which was invasive and horrific. After the surgery my left eye was swollen and I was unable to open it all until the next morning. I was so afraid that I would never be able to see through it again.
When I did eventually open my eye the next morning it was completely blood shot, so I kept the eye guard on for several days as I didn’t want to frighten my children.
It has been a very long week and I am now left with good vison in my right eye and poor vision in my left eye. I have been told that I can wear a contact lens in my left eye after a month. But in the meantime I have to cope with this imbalance of vision, and try to get on with everyday life, which is really difficult as I am experiencing double vision and headaches.
The whole experience has left me feeling very low and I question how this was allowed to happen, if I was informed of the ECC risk I would have continued to attend yearly appointments at Optimax rather than with my optician. This risk and the implications were never discussed with me prior to my surgery, and I don’t know if I would have gone ahead if they had been.
So entirely due to lack of communication on Optimax’s part I find myself in the situation I am in today.
May 11, 2021 at 2:32 pm #729AndyGuest
ICL ECC issue.
This is not a review but details of past and present events, written in order to seek further information. The details are accurate as I kept and archived all Optimax correspondence.
I believe I was one of the first patients to receive ICL implants at Optimax in July 2003, my reason for doing so being that I’d been let down by various opticians too many times and Optimax offered a different solution. So following an initial appointment in March 2003 I was referred for a topography and consultation with Dr Jan Venter the following month.
The patient information booklet handed to me made no reference to ICL surgery whatsoever, but I was given a piece of paper with some details containing possible side effects:
“There is also a small possibility of damage to the structure of the eye, which could lead to problems such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, retinal complications, corneal decomposition and rejection”
As all went well with the surgery I was not expecting any of these future complications. I was even told that as the lenses had some UV protection I was less likely to get cataracts!
I had further surgery in Feb 2004, to reposition one lens due to street light glare, and my final aftercare appointment was in November 2004, when I was seen by two Optimax male staff members (possibly optometrists) who told me that although this was the first ICL procedure they had reviewed, all was OK and no need for me to return to Optimax at any time, just visit my optician if I needed to.
Optimax opened a new branch in my local town, and on two occasions, not prompted by any issues, I dropped in to ask whether I could book an appointment for an eye health care ‘piece of mind’ check.
On both occasions I was turned away and told unless there was an issue, ‘we do not need to see you so please go to your optician’. My wife was with me the second time in 2019.
I had no further communication from Optimax after my November 2004 appointment, until last month when I received this letter advising that I urgently needed to make an appointment for an Endothelial cell count (ECC)!
Needless to say, had I had received a previous letter like this, I would have treated it as a matter of urgency, and the letter would be filed with all my other documents from Optimax.
I immediately called and booked an appointment for 28th April. The ECC test that day produced unfavourable results for both eyes. The optometrist was unable to find any previous ECC records from my patient records so no comparisons could be made.
A week later I received a phone call urging me to return for a consultation this week to discuss my options.
I have done some preliminary research and it was interesting to note that two US providers of ICL’s recommended in their 2004 patient information document that an ECC test should be carried out periodically for all recipients. This was never discussed with me before or after my 2004 treatment.
If anyone out there has further information or guidance that could help me with the decisions I have to make, it would be gratefully received.
I would recommend contacting Sasha Rodoy (Patient Advocate at My Beautiful Eyes Foundation) who will be able to offer you advice
Please come back to update us.
June 9, 2021 at 4:00 pm #749BrambleGuest
I had my lens implant surgery in October 2003, so I believe I was also one of the first to get it done. 18 years later, last month in May 2021, my elderly mother and father got a phone call from Optimax asking for me. I had since moved to Ireland and had children etc. They passed on my details and I received a voicemail saying it was extremely important for me to get my cell count checked and they sent me a letter to the same effect.
I visited the Optimax surgery in Belfast where they were unable to count cells in one of my eyes. The opthalmologist said she wanted a 2nd opinion because she was worried the count was low and that she’d discuss with the practice manager and get back to me.
Yesterday I had a phone call from the manager who said she had talked to a consultant and both lenses would need to be explanted. Needless to say I was in complete shock as 1) This is the first time I’ve ever heard anything from Optimax in 17 years 2) This is the first time I’ve heard about the importance of endothellial cell count checks 3) There was never any mention of the lenses ever having to be removed when I had them done.
I’m extremely upset and worried about this as my cells have been damaged by having the lenses in for so long. Someone should have contacted me years ago to discuss this new information about cell counts then I would have had them checked regularly. I’ve literally heard nothing from them in 17 years.
I now have to travel to London from Ireland, at my own expense, to have the surgery which will leave me with my former terrible eyesight. Also I’m worried about the future health of my eyes once the surgery has been completed as my cell count is so low. This is an absolute disaster and I’ve shed tears over the whole debacle. I am currently seeking a 2nd opinion/advice about the after effects of the surgery and will also be seeking legal advice. Has anyone had both of theirs explanted? How did it go? Did you seek legal advice?
I recommend that you contact Sasha Rodoy (Patient Advocate at My Beautiful Eyes Foundation) who will be able to advise you: email@example.com
Please come back to update us.
June 20, 2021 at 3:53 pm #754ChrisGuest
ICL ECC problems
I have just found your forum as I have been looking for information on Optimax and lens implants with regards to endothelial cell damage.
My wife has just been contacted by Optimax after 17 years of having a lens implant. She has now been told the lenses need to be removed and her endothelial cell counts are dangerously low.
We are going for a second opinion privately but really looking for more information and what the future holds.
I advise contacting Sasha Rodoy (Patient Advocate at My Beautiful Eyes Foundation) via email. She will be able to advise you on a way forward: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 25, 2021 at 7:12 pm #757ChrisGuest
An update to my previous post.
After contacting Sasha she recommended an independent ophthalmologist to provide a second opinion and Optimax agreed to pay for the consultation.
The Consultant was amazing and we felt very safe. He did not understand why Optimax had intended to take the lenses out yet as there’re no previous ECC readings to show when my wife’s cell count went down.
Not too concerned about the cell count at the moment, but we have booked in for another ECC in 6 months time to see what loss has occurred.
We received an email today from Optimax which states that they have been trying to contact us (no they haven’t) and that they are having to cancel the operation due to unforeseen circumstances and for my wife to call and make a new appointment when it is convenient.
Concerning that Optimax had booked my wife in for a lens extraction without being examined by a surgeon, and a consultation scheduled only 35 mins before the intended operation!
We want some answers from them regarding why they wanted to remove the lenses without her having seen a surgeon, and why they haven’t done counts yearly, and where my wife’s records are. Probably many other questions to ask after they have put us through hell since they contacted us.
It’s still possible that the lenses will eventually have to be removed but we won’t know until the next ECC. If they do need removing we won’t be trusting Optimax to do this.
Hope this information will help others.