Intensive cataract training: a novel approach

Authors: Baxter JM, Lee R, Sharp JA, Foss AJ et al.

Publication: Eye (Lond). 2013 Jun; 27(6): 742–746.



To evaluate the safety of an intensive cataract surgery training programme.


An intensive cataract surgery training programme was implemented in August 2010 for year 3 ophthalmology trainees in the East Midlands Deanery North Rotation (United Kingdom). Trainees participated in extra-ocular surgery and 50?h of virtual reality cataract surgery simulator training over a 2-year period. Their third year comprised 6 months of intensive phacoemulsification training in a tertiary centre followed by a 6-month period of consolidation in a district general hospital. The complication rates and case numbers were evaluated after the first 2 years of implementation.


At 2 years, three trainees had completed a full year of intensive training. In the first 6 months of training, Trainee 1 completed 156 cases, Trainee 2 completed 194 cases, and Trainee 3 completed 151 full cases as primary surgeons with an average rate of posterior capsule rupture (PCR) of 1%. At 12 months, Trainee 1 completed 291, Trainee 2 completed 318, and Trainee 3 completed 294 cases, with an average PCR rate of 0.66%. The trainees required 84 lists on average to complete 150 full cataract procedures.


The combination of simulation and the new intensive training programme is safer than the traditional programme for cataract surgery training.