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Keywords:

  • cataract surgery;
  • simulator;
  • skills training;
  • virtual reality

Abstract.

Purpose:  To investigate initial learning curves on a virtual reality (VR) eye surgery simulator and whether achieved skills are transferable between tasks.

Methods:  Thirty-five medical students were randomized to complete ten iterations on either the VR Caspulorhexis module (group A) or the Cataract navigation training module (group B) and then two iterations on the other module. Learning curves were compared between groups. The second Capsulorhexis video was saved and evaluated with the performance rating tool Objective Structured Assessment of Cataract Surgical Skill (OSACSS). The students’ stereoacuity was examined.

Results:  Both groups demonstrated significant improvements in performance over the 10 iterations: group A for all parameters analysed including score (p < 0.0001), time (p < 0.0001) and corneal damage (p = 0.0003), group B for time (p < 0.0001), corneal damage (p < 0.0001) but not for score (p = 0.752). Training on one module did not improve performance on the other. Capsulorhexis score correlated significantly with evaluation of the videos using the OSACSS performance rating tool. For stereoacuity < and ≥120 seconds of arc, sum of both modules’ second iteration score was 73.5 and 41.0, respectively (p = 0.062).

Conclusion:  An initial rapid improvement in performance on a simulator with repeated practice was shown. For capsulorhexis, 10 iterations with only simulator feedback are not enough to reach a plateau for overall score. Skills transfer between modules was not found suggesting benefits from training on both modules. Stereoacuity may be of importance in the recruitment and training of new cataract surgeons. Additional studies are needed to investigate this further. Concurrent validity was found for Capsulorhexis module.