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Virtual reality simulation improves medical students observation experience in ophthalmic surgery

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First Author: D.Hutter USA

Co Author(s):    D. Hutter   K. Cavuoto                 

Abstract Details


Medical students pursuing a career in ophthalmology spend considerable amounts of time observing eye surgery. The benefit of the time spent in surgical observation is unclear, as students may not possess the knowledge to appreciate the nuances of surgery.


Training consisted of half-day sessions with one or two students led by an ophthalmologist with expertise in simulation education.


To assess whether training with a virtual reality haptic feedback ophthalmic surgery simulator improves the surgical observation experience for medical students who plan to go into ophthalmology. Medical students answered questions to assess their experience in the ophthalmology operating room, both before and after training on the HelpMeSee ophthalmic surgery simulator. Sessions covered surgical ergonomics, surgical microscope adjustment, and uses/features of surgical instruments. The study employed a mixed methods design: quantitative data derived from selected-response written survey items, and qualitative findings comprised of responses to open-ended written and semi-structured interview questions.


Representative student responses to post-simulation open-ended written survey questions included: “Going through the simulation provided me with an improved understanding of the technical skills and surgical steps required to complete cases in the OR. It also helped reinforce the steps and improved my retention.” “Prior to going through the training session, my focus would only be on the screen displaying the surgery. After, I split my focus between watching the surgery on the screen and actually watching what the surgeon was doing with their hands/feet and what instruments they were using.”


Virtual reality simulation enables medical students to maximize their time observing ophthalmic surgery. Based on students’ mean ratings on representative written survey items and responses to interview questions, respondents were more active observers in the OR and were more prepared to observe in the OR after simulation-based eye surgery training.

Financial Disclosure:

... receives consulting fees, retainer, or contract payments from a company producing, developing or supplying the product or procedure presented

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