April 3, 2022 at 2:44 pm #841FairyqueenParticipant
In August 2007 I paid Optimax who sent me to a Nuffield private hospital in Wolverhampton to have an ICL implanted in one of my eyes by Dr Jan Venter. A week later I went through the same procedure on my other eye.
I was ecstatic as the next day I could see clearly after years of wearing glasses. My prescription pre op was -12.75, so even the little things like being able to read the labels of the shampoo and conditioner bottles meant so much to me. I could go swimming without being guided and I could enjoy going to the gym and dancing. I could see my kids when they awoke in the night and play with them without the fear of my glasses being broken.
I was told that my implants were for life and that I would only need them taking out if my prescription significantly changed. I thought it was the best decision I had ever made and went about my life.
Fast forward to 2nd April 2022 when my world was turned upside down – and now it’s the worst decision I ever made!
In 2016 I received a letter from Optimax saying I needed to go for a check up and an endothelial cell count check.
After paying £50 for this appointment I made my way to Leicester and was in there less than 5 minutes. I was told that everything was OK and that my eyes were healthy. I was never told the importance of these checks, and they hadn’t been mentioned to me in 2007 by Optimax or the surgeon Dr Jan Venter, and to be honest it seemed like a money making scheme.
I heard nothing more from Optimax until late 2021 when I received an email and a telephone call inviting me to make an appointment for another ECC in Leicester. I told them that Covid had hit my family hard and we struggling for money so couldn’t afford to pay for this and travel to Leicester.
I was then constantly bombarded with telephone calls from a woman who was rather rude and spoke down to me like I was a child. She said they would do the ECC at a lower price of £35 and then they lowered it to £25. She called me again and said that the optometrist needed to see me because he was concerned that my cell count was low in 2016 – news to me because they didn’t say a word at the time!
Because of this and the lower price I made the appointment and attended on Saturday 2nd April 2022.
I had the ECC done and was then told that I needed to have my right implant explanted ASAP!
The optician said my cell count in 2007 was around 2500, around 2000 in 2016, my right eye now around 1510, and my left eye around 1800.
He said I could wear a contact lens afterwards and a few months later I would need the left lens explanted. I could then go back to wearing contact lenses and glasses.
I was in shock and disbelief as I was told these ICLs were for life.
I was given a patient information leaflet and I noticed that it said you can’t wear a contact lens until at least 3-4 weeks after having the implants removed, meaning I wouldn’t be able to drive, so how was I supposed to get to work, and I have kids? When I pointed this out he just laughed and said oh so you have read that bit then.
I was then told that they could provide RLE surgery instead, as the lenses sit differently in the eye so it would be better. When I went for the original consultation for ICLs they told me then that this was a cataract operation and I wouldn’t get cataracts due to the implants, so to hear that RLE was actually the cataract procedure shocked me. He said they would be reluctant to do the this until I was 50 due to the risk of the retina becoming detached. I asked how much it would cost and I was told around £3000. I was told to go home and digest the information I had been given and then give them a call to arrange an appointment to have them explanted.
I left Optimax and just burst into tears. When I got home I called Optimax and asked if it was a definite no to having the RLE procedure done before 50, and he said I would have to have a chat with a surgeon and that his receptionist could arrange that. I also asked again how much it cost and was told £3000. I then asked is that per eye, and he said yes, and when I said there was no way I could afford that he said that if I went ahead then he could speak to head office and ask them for a discount.
I feel like my life has been turned upside down and had I been made aware of this possibility occurring I would not have gone ahead with this procedure.
Would I recommend Optimax? NEVER!
Optimax ruined my life and have done nothing to try and rectify it other than try and get more money out of me.
I highly recommend that you contact Sasha Rodoy (Patient Advocate at My Beautiful Eyes Foundation) who will be able to advise you.
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