This retrospective consecutive case series examined whether training on a surgical simulator reduces intraoperative complication rates among novice ophthalmology residents learning cataract surgery.Methods
Beginning July 2014, training on the Eyesi simulator became mandatory for novice postgraduate year 3 ophthalmology residents before live cataract surgery at our institution. Complication rates of the 11 simulator-trained residents (study group) were compared with their immediate 11 simulator-naive predecessors (comparison group). Only straightforward cataract cases (according to standardized preoperative criteria) where postgraduate year 3 residents served as the primary surgeon were included. Complication data were obtained from Morbidity and Mortality records and compared using Fisher exact test. A survey was administered to the residents to gauge the perceived utility of simulation training.Results
The simulator-trained group (n = 501 cataract cases) and the simulator-naive comparison group (n = 454 cases) were analyzed. The complication rate in the simulator group was 2.4% compared with 5.1% in the comparison group (P = 0.037, Fisher exact test). Both the mean posterior capsule tear rate and vitreous prolapse rate in the simulator group were 2.2% compared with 4.8% in the comparison group (P = 0.032, Fisher exact test). The survey had a response rate of 100% (11/11), and 91% (10/11) of respondents felt that the training was “extremely worthwhile” and should be mandatory.Conclusions
The addition of surgical simulation training was associated with a significantly reduced rate of complications, including posterior capsule tears and vitreous prolapse, among novice postgraduate year 3 residents. There is a perceived utility among residents to incorporate virtual simulation into surgical training.