June 2015
Volume 56, Issue 7
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2015
A survey of the evolving role of virtual eye surgery simulators in ophthalmic graduate medical education
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yasir Ahmed
    Ophthalmology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA
  • Ingrid U Scott
    Ophthalmology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Yasir Ahmed, None; Ingrid Scott, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2015, Vol.56, 135. doi:
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      Yasir Ahmed, Ingrid U Scott; A survey of the evolving role of virtual eye surgery simulators in ophthalmic graduate medical education. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):135.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: To survey ophthalmology residency program directors (PDs) with regards to their familiarity, experiences, and attitudes towards virtual eye surgery (VES) simulators. Recently reported data concerning virtual reality training to operating room performance for VES simulators may impact their adoption in ophthalmology residency training programs.

Methods: This study received an exemption from the Penn State College of Medicine IRB. An anonymous survey consisting of multiple choice and Likert style questions was created on www.surveymonkey.com. The survey link was sent to the 116 ACGME Ophthalmology Residency Program Directors listed on the AMA online database (www.ama-assn.org/go/freida). Any outdated or undeliverable addresses were verified with the AUPO database 2014. Each survey question was analyzed independently with respect to the total number of responses to the question.

Results: The response rate was 35% (41/116). A VES simulator was used by 78% (32/41) of ophthalmology residency training programs. Among the programs without a VES simulator, cost was the main limiting factor in 89% (8/9). Among programs using VES simulators, 97% (28/29) used the EyeSi simulator (VRmagic, Mannheim, Germany), 80% (24/30) mandated the use of a VES simulator in the residency curriculum, and 83% (25/30) used it to evaluate resident surgical skills quantitatively. A VES simulator had been personally used by 85% (33/39) of PDs; 54% (21/39) of PDs reported that department faculty used a VES simulator to help residents improve surgical skills. Most PDs agreed that VES is a useful tool for improving and measuring resident surgical skills and that it could be incorporated into the resident training model given the current level of evidence but they did not support VES evolving into a mandatory component of resident training.

Conclusions: VES has become prevalent in US ophthalmology residency training programs. This may be due, at least in part, to recent evidence showing improved operating room performance associated with virtual reality training. The VES simulator is also being increasingly integrated into the resident surgical teaching model due to its valuation as a useful surgical training modality. However, the expense of a VES simulator is a barrier to its use in some programs and may represent the main obstacle to its integration as a mandatory component of ophthalmic surgical training.


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