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Speed dating pitfalls

'People's eyesight is being put at risk on a large scale and yet the Government appears indifferent.'A spokesman for the Department of Health said: 'It is vital refractive eye surgery is undertaken by properly qualified professionals.

The big three High Street operators say the vast majority of their customers are delighted with their results, but in the absence of independent figures, the evidence they offer is, by definition, selective.

For instance, Optimax claims on its website that 99.83 per cent of 4,219 patients who underwent laser eye surgery 'achieved driving standard vision or better and 95.99 per cent achieved 20/20 vision or better'.

For instance, a requirement that the initial consultation should be carried out by the doctor who would be doing the operation was dropped in favour of any surgeon who happened to be available.

A week-long 'cooling off' period to think things over between seeing the surgeon and having the operation was reduced to 24 hours.'I know from what patients tell me that they are being pressured to have surgery on the same day they have their initial consultation and that they don't see a refractive surgeon [a specialist in correcting sight problems]; they see one of the assistants.'Indeed, Optical Express told us that a patient's consultation would be with an optometrist (who is trained to detect eye problems and can prescribe and fit contact lenses or glasses) and that it was not standard practice for them to meet a surgeon before the day of their operation. It's thought just 100 doctors worldwide have the certificate, which means as many more again could be operating in the UK without it (Optical Express said 'most' of the surgeons it used held the Royal College's certificate).

The following FAQ contains general information about ultrasounds, how they are done, types of ultrasounds available, the technology used in ultrasounds, the safety and accuracy of ultrasounds, and the justification (or lack thereof) for various indications for ultrasounds.

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Instead, thanks to hard-sell tactics, including supermarket-style cut-price offers, what is a serious surgical procedure has been downplayed to the point where people regard it as 'like having a filling at the dentist', says Professor David Gartry, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields and leading expert - 25 years ago, he was the first surgeon in Britain to perform laser eye surgery.In 2012, it investigated Optimax's takeover of its rival Ultralase.

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But Sasha now needs glasses not only for distance, but also for intermediate and close-up - and she suffers debilitating side-effects, including dry eyes, loss of depth perception and starbursts around lights at night.Optimax declined to say how many patients were treated in total over that time and what percentage had enjoyed the same improvement in sight.It insisted, however, it was 'stringent in our patient selections to exclude those who are unlikely to achieve a satisfactory result'.research any test before deciding whether to use it or not. For more information on prenatal testing, see the FAQs available from info on the Internet. Testing decisions vary greatly depending on family history, medical condition, parental beliefs, etc.That's because you can take off a dirty pair of glasses or contact lenses, but you can't just change your eyes once they're damaged.''I am increasingly alarmed at the Government dragging its feet over the introduction of proper, basic regulation of eye surgery,' says Mr Mc Donnell.