PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review recent literature regarding innovative techniques, methods of teaching and assessing competence and skill in cataract surgery.
RECENT FINDINGS: The need for assessment of surgical competency and the requirement of wet lab facilities in ophthalmic training programs are being increasingly emphasized. Authors have proposed the use of standardized forms to collect objective and subjective data regarding the residents' surgical performance. Investigators have reported methods to improve visualization of cadaver and animal eyes for the wet lab, including the use of capsular dyes. The discussion of virtual reality as a teaching tool for surgical programs continues. Studies have proven that residents trained on a laparoscopic simulator outperformed nontrained residents during actual surgery for both surgical times and numbers of errors. Besides virtual reality systems, a program is being developed to separate the cognitive portion from the physical aspects of surgery. Another program couples surgical videos with three-dimensional animation to enhance the trainees' topographical understanding.
SUMMARY: Proper assessment of surgical competency is becoming an important focus of training programs. The use of surgical data forms may assist in standardizing objective assessments. Virtual reality, cognitive curriculum and animation video programs can be helpful in improving residents' surgical performance.
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