Saturday 25 November 2017

Woman (24) 'suffered problems after €4k laser eye surgery', inquiry hears

Stock photo
Stock photo
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

A 24-year-old woman who suffered problems after laser eye surgery has given evidence against a leading doctor before a Fitness to Practise committee inquiry of the Medical Council.

Rebecca Kinsella was 18 when she had the Lasik eye surgery at an Optical Express clinic on Wellington Road, Dublin on April 2, 2012. The new mother who had a five-month-old son at the time told how she paid around €4,000 for the procedure.

She was giving evidence at a hearing into Dr Jan Venter, of Kabeljous Road, Jeffreys Bay, in South Africa - who did not himself perform the surgery -  but held a position with Optical Express in the UK.

He is facing allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance in relation to the treatment afforded by Optical Express to Ms Kinsella, where he was “Medical Director and/or Clinical Director.” A number of the allegations relate to ensuring adequate systems were in place.

Mr Simon Mills BL, who is representing Dr Venter has strenuously denied that his client has any case to answer.  He said his client is very highly regarded, and has 44 unblemished years of service.

Ms Kinsella told the inquiry she was offered a free consultation, and that happened in a different branch to the Wellington Road one on March 27th 2012.

The surgery was booked and carried out a few days later on 2 April, 2012 by a surgeon – there is no allegation in relation to the performance of the surgery.

She subsequently attended a number of after-care appointments at the clinic, and two weeks post surgery, she told the inquiry that: "My right eye seemed to deteriorate more.

"I had problems when I was trying to look at the telly. I had to blink a lot. I was very sensitive to the light.

"When I was reading or anything my eyes would water. They kept watering. I noticed when I was driving at night, the lights in the cars in front of me were kind of like doubled. I made another appointment to go back and speak to them again."

Lorna Lynch BL for the Medical Council said it is not disputed that the first date Ms Kinsella saw Dr Venter was 18 June 2012 for clinical review and then again on 20 August 2012, when Dr Venter was also in attendance.

She said evidence will be given to the inquiry by an expert that taking a number of issues into consideration, Ms Kinsella was not a suitable candidate for Lasik eye surgery.

In a statement, Optical Express said: "Optical Express performs thousands of successful procedures every year making it Ireland’s number one laser eye surgery provider. Our patients receive the highest level of care from the world’s most experienced laser eye surgeons... We pride ourselves on being Europe’s leading laser eye surgery provider and delivering professional high-level care to thousands of patients across Europe every year."

The inquiry is continuing.

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