Whipps Cross launches first eye surgery simulator available for north east London | Our news

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Whipps Cross launches first eye surgery simulator available for north east London

Today the Medical Education Training Suite at Whipps Cross Hospital launched a much needed training tool for ophthalmology. The Eyesi cataract surgical simulator, which was funded by Health Education England, is a virtual reality simulator for eye surgery training and provides an interface for cataract surgery. The simulator offers an embedded training curriculum for ophthalmic trainees as well as assessment and evaluation tools. It is also useful for fully trained surgeons to practice their skills following surgery breaks in their career.

As part of the recovery and reorganisation of planned surgeries, the eye treatment centre at Whipps Cross serves as a high volume low complexity (HVLC) hub for north east London (NEL) which demonstrates our ability to deliver high quality eye surgery to our community.

Consultant Ophthalmologist and educational supervisor at Whipps Cross, Cordelia McKechnie says:I have always been interested in training and the necessity for surgical simulation. Evidence has shown that simulation training with the Eyesi shortens the training curve, lowers complication rates and helps maintain and develop new surgical skills.

“We plan to build on our reputation as one of the main cataract training units in NEL and develop a programme whereby ophthalmic trainees and senior surgeons across NEL are able to gain easier access to an Eyesi simulator.”

Supported simulation training is part of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists Covid recovery plan and a requirement of trainees before they perform eye surgery on patients. Previously, trainees in NEL would have had to travel further afield and often face long waiting lists before gaining access to a simulator of this kind. Availability of the Eyesi here will now enable the ETC to continue delivering high quality surgical training across the NEL patch.

As the demand for surgery is predicted to rise, it is crucial that patients who will benefit from cataract surgery, are able to access it more efficiently. People with cataract are twice as likely to have falls and can have significantly reduced quality of life, with increased levels of depression and anxiety.

Cordelia at Eyesi machine.jpg


Thank you to all the staff in the Medical Education Training & Simulation team for support in submitting and acquiring the equipment: Sharon Harmon, Megan Hall-Jackson, Rachel Gill, Alvin Robinson, Mary Thomas & Jessica Best. Also to my consultant colleague & Network Director for Ophthalmology Sudeshna Patra who is leading on the HVLC surgical hub pathways. For Sujatha Thamban for her support as DME at WXH and for HEE in providing the funding. 

About cataract

A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms may include faded colors, blurry or double vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights, and trouble seeing at night.

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