The international forum of ophthalmic simulation: developing a virtual reality training curriculum for ophthalmology

Authors: Saleh GM, Lamparter J, Sullivan PM, O'Sullivan F, Hussain B, Athanasiadis I, Litwin AS, Gillan SN.

Publication: Br J Ophthalmol. 2013 Jun;97(6):789-92. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2012-302764. Epub 2013 Mar 26.


Background To investigate the effect of a structured, supervised, cataract simulation programme on ophthalmic surgeons in their first year of training, and to evaluate the level of skill transfer.

Methods Trainees with minimal intraocular and simulator experience in their first year of ophthalmology undertook a structured, sequential, customised, virtual reality (VR) cataract training programme developed through the International Forum of Ophthalmic Simulation. A set of one-handed, bimanual, static and dynamic tasks were evaluated before and after the course and scores obtained. Statistical significance was evaluated with the Wilcoxon sign-rank test.

Results The median precourse score of 101.50/400 (IQR 58.75–145.75) was significantly improved after completing the training programme ((postcourse score: 302/400, range: 266.25–343), p<0.001). While improvement was evident and found to be statistically significant in all parameters, greatest improvements were found for capsulorhexis and antitremor training ((Capsulorhexis: precourse score=0/100, range 0–4.5; postcourse score=81/100, range 13–87.75; p=0.002), (antitremor training: precourse score=0/100, range 0–0; postcourse score=80/100, range 60.25–91.50; p=0.001)).

Conclusions Structured and supervised VR training can offer a significant level of skills transfer to novice ophthalmic surgeons. VR training at the earliest stage of ophthalmic surgical training may, therefore, be of benefit.