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The Roper-Hall Eye Foundation buys virtual reality surgical simulator for the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre

In the UK it takes a minimum of 7 years for a doctor to become a highly trained eye surgeon (Consultant Ophthalmologist). Cataract surgery is the commonest operation performed in the NHS and has restored vision and quality of life to millions of people. It is now compulsory for junior ophthalmologists to use a virtual reality surgical simulator (known as the EyeSi Surgical) as part of their training to become skilled and safe cataract surgeons. 

Apart from cataract surgery, the EyeSi Surgical can also train doctors who wish to specialise in Vitreo-Retinal (or V-R) surgery. V-R surgery involves operating on the vitreous jelly that makes up most of the inside of the eye and the retina which is the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. Indications for V-R surgery include repairing a detached retina and severe diabetic eye disease. V-R surgery is technically challenging, and hundreds of procedures need to be performed before a surgeon becomes competent. Furthermore, it is high-stakes surgery that involves operating near sensitive structures of the eye with the potential for catastrophic complications, more so than other eye surgery. Unlike cataract surgery, V-R surgery is undertaken in the final year of training, but most doctors also do a further year after they have officially finished their training and are known as Fellows. Surgical simulation training has been shown to improve outcomes, reduce complications and improve efficiency. The EyeSi Surgical creates a lifelike environment for realistic V-R surgery training thereby putting patient safety first.

The Roper-Hall Eye Foundation (through the Barbara Mary Wilmot Discretionary Trust) is delighted to announce that they have purchased the Eyesi Surgical V-R Upgrade (that fits onto the simulator hardware already available) and V-R Training Courseware for the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre (BMEC). BMEC has one of the largest V-R departments in the UK, serving multiple hospitals in the West Midlands and an approximate population of 3-4 million. The team of 5 Consultants and 3 Fellows perform over 2000 specialist cases annually. The simulator will be an invaluable addition to the training of numerous eye surgeons for many years.