In a report for Healio, the ocular surgery news publication, Paolo Lanzetta, MD addresses the need for formal educational programs on surgical teaching during residency as mandatory for the ophthalmic surgeons of tomorrow.

Writes Dr. Lanzetta:

During the last decade, ophthalmology has gained credit as a highly sophisticated surgical specialty. In the past, eye surgeons were among the first to use the operating microscope, and since then, the number of procedures, techniques and technologies have exploded and become more and more refined.

Surgical operations that once took numerous hours are now being completed in under 60 minutes. And patients have likewise drastically changed. They realize that most conditions can be altered quickly and successfully. Which means, too, that their expectations have expanded.

This ever-evolving situation has numerous ramifications, says Dr. Lanzetta.

Today, technology advancements also involve equipment for training in medicine. New simulators, such as the Eyesi (VRmagic), allow residents to practice on a dummy linked to a software that projects a 3-D image of different conditions, such as cataracts or retinal diseases, on which physicians can operate. Most of us are more familiar with wet labs, usually equipped with multiple work spaces, microscopes, cameras, head models and fresh animal eyes. I personally started phacoemulsification through a memorable wet lab course led by Dr. Buratto and Dr. Zirm, who gave me the ABCs of modern cataract surgery. Most recently, dry lab and wet lab tools such as the Kitaro kit (FCI Ophthalmics) have been introduced. Residents can practice techniques repeatedly without the added complication of long preparation times and costly live tissue samples. These tools simulate the stages of cataract surgery using both a wet and dry lab environment to allow new surgeons the ability to train repeatedly on basic surgical techniques.

Certainly, ophthalmologists experience a thorough and intense instruction process. Most enter medical school after attending a four year college. They then put in four more years in medical school, followed by a several years finishing a residency. The main post-doctoral year is an entry level position, which concentrates on general medicinal issues. The following three to four are spent cultivating their specific expertise.