The Mail on Sunday

EastEnder Dot going blind – two years after op by eye surgeon exposed in MoS

- By Jo Macfarlane

EASTENDERS actress June Brown has revealed she is going blind, just two years after a‘ miracle’ operation to save her sight was performed by a controvers­ial eye surgeon.

The pioneering procedure was carried out by Harley Street ophthalmol­ogist Bobby Qureshi, who is currently appearing before a medical disciplina­ry panel over a catalogue of allegation­s of dishonesty and misconduct, which were exposed following an investigat­ion by The Mail on Sunday.

Since January, the tribunal has been hearing evidence from 26 patients treated by Mr Qureshi at his private London Eye Hospital, which is now in administra­tion.

Many of the patients, who suffer from age-related macular degenerati­on( A MD ), were given the same EyeMax lenses as Ms Brown.

These lenses were designed by Mr Qureshi to delay the progressio­n of the incurable condition.

But patients told the Medical Practition­ers Tribunal Service panel in Manchester that they believe their eyesight failed to improve, despite spending up to £25,000 on the surgery.

Ms Brown, 92, who has played Dot Cotton in the BBC soap since 1985, became a poster girl for the procedure after giving an interview in which she described the ‘astonishin­g’ results, which included being able to read again and see her children’s faces.

But yesterday she admitted that just two years after having the surgery, her vision has deteriorat­ed.

She told the Daily Mirror: ‘I’ve got very poor sight. I’ve got extra lenses inside my eyes to try to help me read better.

‘They help with peripheral vision, but I’ve got no central vision. I can’t go out socially.’

Mr Qureshi, 49, is appearing before the disciplina­ry panel following an 18-month investigat­ion by the General Medical Council.

Expert witness and consultant ophthalmol­ogist Mr Niall Patton has questioned whether some of the procedures, which were heavily promoted by the clinic, were clinically justified. As Mr Qureshi is the majority shareholde­r for the EyeMax lens, it is claimed by the GMC that he had a ‘financial motivation’ in encouragin­g patients to have the treatment.

The tribunal was scheduled to finish at the end of March but, because of the wealth of complex evidence in an ‘unusually long’ case, it will now reconvene to consider the allegation­s against him in August.

The panel could dismiss the claims but if they are proven, he could be given a warning, suspended from the register or even struck off.

Mr Qureshi has told the tribunal that he would not have provided any guarantees to patients that the surgery would improve their eyesight, and that in every case they were told their AMD would continue to progress despite the lenses being implanted.

He has also insisted that all of the procedures undertaken were clinically justified, and has denied being financiall­y motivated.

 ?? ?? ‘POOR SIGHT’: June Brown and, left, Mr Qureshi and our story from 2017
‘POOR SIGHT’: June Brown and, left, Mr Qureshi and our story from 2017

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