Hospital da Luz Learning Health Ophthalmologic Surgery Simulation Courses “Are the Future”

“In simulation courses, there is no problem with error – error is even welcomed, since it allows learning. In this sense, these courses are the future, allowing customized and highly qualified training, removing the patient from the learning curve” – highlighted Filomena Ribeiro, the coordinator of the Ophthalmology Service from Hospital da Luz Lisboa, at the opening of the Video-symposium on Complex Cataract Surgery, held on March 29 in the auditorium of that unit. The following day, on March 30, the physicians assisting the Cataract Advanced Course also testified that these courses “are a great added value”, in terms of medical training.

These are the first simulation courses in Portugal, in the area of ophthalmologic surgery (cataract and vitreoretinal surgery) and are organized by Hospital da Luz Learning Health. Training based on simulation enables learning in a safe, realistic and predictable environment, without putting the patient at risk – and, in this case, the courses were destined to internists and specialists in Ophthalmology.

The Video-symposium counted with the participation of renowned national and international specialists and the support of the main international courses on cataract surgery (Facoelche, Facoextrema, Facocaraibas and Centro Mejicano de Cirurjanos de Catarata). Through an innovating method, by videoconference and interaction with the audience, several surgical cases were presented and discussed – providing to those present at Hospital da Luz Lisboa and those following the session online, the opportunity to hear from guests such as Robert Osher (from Cincinnati, USA), Ike Ahmed (from Toronto, Canada), Luis Escaf (Barranquilla, Colombia), Gerardo Valvecchia (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Eduardo Viteri (Quito, Ecuador), Fernando Soler (Spain), Guadalupe Cervantes (City of Mexico) and Oscar Asis (Spain).

In the Cataract Advanced Course, the participants trained surgical procedures on artificial eyes, complex cases of cataract surgery on simulator Eyesi® Surgical (such as capsular tension enhancement, week zonules and complications) and also retinal exams made via Eyesi® Indirect, an indirect ophthalmoscopy simulator. In the end, all highlighted the “realism” of the simulators.

Filomena Ribeiro, the director of these courses, stressed the general “enthusiasm”, both of trainees and trainers, the latter belonging to the ophthalmology services from several Hospital da Luz units: physicians Ana Souza e Silva, Bernardo Feijó, Cláudia Bacalhau, Daniele Oliveira, Fernanda Vaz, Filomena Silva, Isabel Prieto, Filipe Simões, Mafalda Mota, Mara Ferreira, Nuno Amaral, Paulo Campos, Paulo Guerra, Paulo Kaku, Pedro Carreira, Peter Pego, Rita Dinis da Gama, Sílvia Todo-Bom, Sofia Almada and Susana Teixeira.

“It is highly gratifying and motivating to get this interaction between teaching and learning. We are going to extend this experience to other ophthalmologic surgical areas, and we are preparing future courses that will include the possibility of individual tutored teaching, as well as continuing medical training”, concluded Filomena Ribeiro.