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A. J. Hendershot, A. M. Mahmoud, T. F. Mauger; Cataract Surgery Simulators in the Training of Ophthalmology Residents. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):5440.
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Simulators have long been used in the training of pilots and military personnel and are now being used in the medical field. Research is needed to explore the potential uses and validate the success of simulators in preparing users for actual surgical cases. The purpose of the current preliminary study was to demonstrate the feasibility and potential applications of a virtual reality phacoemulsification simulator in the training of ophthalmology residents.
The subjects of this retrospective study were ophthalmology residents at The Ohio State University, who were allowed unlimited access to a phacoemulsification simulator over a three-year period. Simulator use was encouraged, but not mandatory. Resident usage and data stored by the simulator were then analyzed in five key areas (total procedure time, phaco energy, iris damage time, rhexis damage time and zonular stretch) to evaluate whether or not the residents’ surgical skills were progressing.
Eight (38%) of the 21 eligible residents logged in and used the simulator for more than one case for a total of 81 sessions across all subjects. Regression analysis of the data showed statistically significant improvement (P value <0.05) in 3 of the 5 studied variables (phaco energy, iris damage time and rhexis damage time).
Our study shows that spontaneous or voluntary use of a cataract surgery simulator leads to the acquisition of surgical skills as measured by the simulator. This is the first step in validating surgical simulators as tools in the future surgical training of ophthalmology residents.
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