Friday, April 12, 2013

VA Medical Center Acquires Virtual Reality Eye Surgical Simulator

The US Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina just announced they have acquired a virtual eye surgery training simulator for their Microsurgical Advanced Technique Laboratory. An article in The Herald Sun talks with Dr. Sharon Fekrat, MD, Chief of Ophthalmology at the VA Medical Center, and a practicing vitreoretinal surgeon at the Duke University Eye Center's Albert Eye Research Institute. Dr. Fekrat is a big proponent of the simulator and the hundreds of stages of virtual surgical training it offers.

Virtual Reality Surgical Simulator
Surgical Resident Trains on Virtual Reality Surgery Simulator
At a cost of $262,000, the simulator is designed to train ophthalmology residents and fellows on a multitude of surgical tasks. With the clinic performing about 1,000 eye surgeries each year, there is a tremendous demand for training of surgeons who will need to precisely move the tip of a micro focus control instrument around the anterior chamber of the eye during cataract surgery.
“You can start with the basics,” Fekrat said. “But you can’t proceed to the next level until you have mastered the level you’re on. It’s sort of like a video game.”
Surgical simulators allow students to practice complex surgical procedures, on virtual patients, in a safe risk-free setting, where they can master the skills and techniques that will be required for surgery on live patients. Training simulators allow surgeons to develop and refine their hand-eye-coordination, as well as their cognitive decision making surgical skills, leading directly to an improved level of proficiency in the operating room.

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