A review by Rajan Sondh

Ophthalmology embodies a fusion of scientific expertise and unwavering precision. For foundation doctors and medical students with a keen interest on becoming ophthalmologists, the RCOphth Microsurgery Introduction Course stands as a gateway to introducing doctors to the intricacies of microsurgery.

Microsurgery operates within a domain where even the most minor tremor may have repercussions. On this day, attendees delve into the fundamentals of microsurgical instruments. They learn to skillfully handle these delicate tools, recognising that the mastery of these instruments serves as the foundation of successful microsurgery.

A key moment in the course is the introduction to suturing under the microscope. This skill demands concentration and the ability to work with precision. Guided by experienced mentors, they practice suturing techniques on miniature, lifelike models.

The surgical microscope stands as an essential tool in microsurgery, providing magnification and illumination to navigate the intricacies of ocular procedures. Attendees are granted the opportunity to work with this invaluable apparatus, mastering its effective use to enhance their surgical proficiency.

A notable highlight of the course is the utilisation of the EyeSi surgical simulator. This state-of-the-art technology allows attendees to immerse themselves in a virtual surgical setting, enabling them to realistically practice various ophthalmic procedures. It offers a safe environment for refining their skills and learning from their mistakes without the pressure of live surgeries.

During the course, attendees are given the opportunity to engage with eye models, which replicate the characteristics and anatomy of the human eye. This hands-on experience closely mirrors the conditions they will encounter in actual surgeries, empowering them to build self-assurance and competence.

Although this course is beneficial, it's essential to take into account certain drawbacks. Firstly, microsurgery is an intricate skill that requires substantial mastery, and despite the introductory nature of this course, it may offer more of an appreciation over a comprehensive grasp of the basics. Additionally, the cost of the course, particularly for medical students, is notably high. Despite this, the course excelled in several aspects. The privilege of receiving high-quality teaching from consultant ophthalmic surgeons was a standout feature. The pace of the course proved to be well-suited for beginners, creating a supportive environment that not only encouraged questions but also provided assistance with techniques for those facing challenges.

The RCOphth Microsurgery Introduction Course represents a demanding and transformative experience that equips doctors and medical students with the fundamentals of microsurgery needed to develop skills in the field of ophthalmology. Through their experiences with microsurgical instruments, surgical microscopes, suturing under magnification, the EyeSi simulator, and eye models, they develop a profound appreciation for the art of microsurgery and the precision required to restore and safeguard the precious gift of sight.

Rajan Sondh

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, UK.

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