• By Stephanie Leveene, ELS
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Virtual ophthalmic surgical skills training is a hit with students. In these pandemic times, can ophthalmic surgical skills be taught virtually? Since August 2020, instructors at the University College London Ophthalmology Masters Programme have been providing virtual programs in general and ophthalmic-specific surgical techniques, giving students kits containing suture packs, Westcott scissors, toothed forceps, and a Castroviejo needle holder. Students used fruits for practicing skills, and instructors conducted sessions over Zoom. This novel teaching tool was rated highly by the students: 80% reported improvement in cable knot tying, 70% reported improvement in suture tying, and 75% reported improvement in their confidence in instrument handling. Eye (London)

    Interactive computerized aid can help patients in making preoperative IOL choices. Doctors at the Ditmanson Medical Foundation Chiayi Christian Hospital in Taiwan developed a computerized patient decision aid (cPDA), using an interactive robot, to help patients choose the most appropriate IOL for their needs prior to cataract surgery. A significant gain in score on the Decision Self-Efficacy scale following use of the cPDA was noted in all 50 study participants, regardless of age, gender, or education level, though patients with higher education levels had the greatest gain. The authors concluded that, “An interactive cPDA may be a promising tool for complex decisions such as IOL selection before cataract surgeries... This pilot study may provide a proof-of-concept of the feasibility of cPDA for patients who are making decisions of IOL selection before their cataract surgery.” Patient Preference and Adherence

    Underserved populations need additional support in completing follow-up ophthalmic appointments. Patients from underserved populations in care at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s free student-run eye clinic were referred to an urban county hospital for further evaluation of concerning ophthalmic findings. Of 180 patients referred, only 20% completed follow-up. The most common diagnoses were refractive error and cataract. Barriers to patient follow-up included lack of insurance, transportation difficulties, and a lack of health literacy. The investigators are looking into a patient navigator system, through which students help patients make and keep follow-up appointments, to help vulnerable populations receive adequate ophthalmic care. Science Reports

    First bionic eye chip implanted in the UK to help restore vision in a blind eye. An 88-year-old patient at Moorfields Eye Hospital with blindness in her left eye due to geographic atrophy is the first recipient of a bionic chip implant in the United Kingdom. Via the implanted retinal chip, special glasses with a computer attachment, and AI algorithms, signals are created and pass through the retinal and optical cells into the brain, to be interpreted as though they were natural vision signals. The patient said of the implant, “I am thrilled to be the first to have this implant, excited at the prospect of enjoying my hobbies again and I truly hope that many others will benefit from this, too.” Moorfields Eye Hospital