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Basildon Vision Express (Essex, UK)


in his greed to sell me unnecessary product, the optician lied to me, and as a direct result i spent three months blind in one eye


in September 2004 i went to Vision Express in Basildon for an eye test because my sight had started deteriorating, with vision becoming increasingly blurry -- the optician there examined me and told me i had cataracts in both eyes, the one in the right eye being much worse (correct), but nothing could be done about it because they weren't yet "ripe" (untrue -- i should have been advised to get an appointment at an eye clinic)

the optician then said i needed to buy two pairs of spectacles -- on asking why i needed new glasses, i was told it was to prevent headaches and blurred vision (untrue -- the new spectacles were of no use to me whatsoever -- i already had perfectly adequate reading glasses and, apart from the cataracts, my distance vision was fine)

he completed the session by telling me to come back in a year's time "to see if the cataracts have ripened" (despite knowing my sight was fast getting worse)

as my sight continued to deteriorate i started trying to find out more about cataracts and their treatment, and also asked others about their experiences -- info from one of the country's top eye consultants recommended having cataracts operated on sooner rather than later -- other people who'd had cataract operations had just gone along to their GPs when they started having problems with their sight and were put forward for an appointment straight away

the government health line confirmed that the lens could be replaced using standard laser therapy without needing to wait for the cataract to 'ripen', and that this had been true for several years

i went to my GP, but unfortunately he'd left the practice and his replacement was useless (disinterested and ineffectual) -- he told me to do whatever the optician advised -- so i changed doctors, and the new one immediately sent in the forms requesting an appointment for me at the local eye clinic -- one cancellation and just over three months later i got put on the waiting list, and three months after that i had the first of my two cataract operations, by which time i'd been completely blind in my right eye for about 3 months

[PS if you're living in Basildon and need an eye test, i can recommend Dollond & Aitchison -- they are efficient and conscientious]


the operation on the right eye out turned out reasonably ok -- i still needed quite strongish reading glasses but at least the sight in that eye was clear -- however by now the effect of the cataract in the other eye was becoming noticeable

in December 2005 i went to D&A and the optician was excellent, examining both eyes with great thoroughness -- thanks to her excellent letter i managed to get an appointment at the hospital within a couple of months -- the consultant i saw decided that it was ok to do the op on my left eye sooner rather than waiting 'till it got any worse -- and in April 2006, i was back in the theatre again

the previous time i'd been impressed by the professionalism of the surgeon and the conscientiousness of the nurses, but this time it was a different surgeon -- she spent the first part of the op complaining about her chair not being right and how she couldn't get into the right position, and then continued intermittently gossiping to the nurses throughout the rest of the op -- but maybe that's what some surgeons prefer to do when they're working

this time the operation initially wasn't so successful -- i could still see out of my left eye but it was a bit blurry -- in fact it wasn't much of an improvement -- the D&A optician spent a long time trying to find a lens which would improve the focussing ability of my left eye, but in the end apologised and said he couldn't really help -- fortunately over the next six months the left eye gradually improved, and both are now restored to the state they were in about five years ago

one of the problems with the NHS is that you don't get any choice over who cuts you up -- if you think you need a cataract operation then you have a choice of whether to pay to have it done by someone with a successful reputation, or wait for six months and hope you get one of the many excellent surgeons working within the NHS -- but whatever your decision, i'd advise you to steer well clear of Vision Express Basildon!

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revised 28 June 2010
URL http://www.wussu.com/various/vision_express.htm