News Feature | July 14, 2016

Simulation-Based Learning System Helps Train Cataract Surgeons

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

From Gamification To MOOCs To Cloud, Learning Is Increasingly Tech-Based

The HelpMeSee simulator is helping to reduce blindness on a global level.

Training surgeons is becoming more high tech every day. From using 3D printed rib cages to train pediatric surgeons or using augmented reality in the operating room, new technologies are enhancing the abilities and capabilities of surgeons.

Now, HARMAN has announced it is developing an enterprise software solution for simulation-based training management with HelpMeSee, the global campaign to end cataract blindness. This Training Management System software is a critical component of the complete training system designed by HelpMeSee to support delivery of the standardized manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS) training program, which will support the education of thousands of cataract specialists to perform vision-restoring cataract surgery.

“As the need for cataract surgeries continues to rise, it’s important we partner with companies like HARMAN to develop technology to support our simulation-based program to train cataract specialists in high-quality, affordable surgeries,” said Jacob Mohan Thazhathu, president and chief executive officer of HelpMeSee.

The global impact of untreated cataracts is astounding. According to HelpMeSee, over 285 million individuals worldwide are visually impaired, with more than 20 million people suffering from cataracts-induced blindness. Further, an estimated 82 million people suffer from some form of cataract visual impairment, while 90 percent of the world’s visually impaired live in underserved countries. Across most of Africa, there is just one ophthalmologist per million people, and 80 percent of all visual impairment is preventable or curable.

These statistics make the HelpMeSee training initiative all that more significant. Using HelpMeSee, the MSICS surgery takes approximately five minutes to complete per eye. The new simulator-based training management system will help train the thousands of cataract specialists needed in order to make these surgeries available globally to more than 20 million people blinded by cataracts.

The HelpMeSee simulation-based training management system includes an application that allows users to create a library of pre-configured training scenarios. Trainees access these scenarios to learn, practice, and perfect treatments for cataracts. The system also provides the ability to record and monitor surgical performance on the Eye Surgical Simulator; report cataract specialists’ proficiency levels through each stage of training; and expedite the completion of surgical training in less than six months, significantly reducing the time required for acquiring surgical skills and qualifying for independent surgery.