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In partnership with the institutes, the program provides eye surgeons with an excellent support system which ensures successful implementation of the techniques in order to help ophthalmologists after the program to shift from conventional surgical techniques such as small incision cataract surgery to what is now the global standard, phacoemulsification cataract surgery.
The practical training approach starts with pre-course support and a 4 to day intensive training program that combines both theory and wet lab experiences hands-on surgical practice with artificial eyes. An experienced Consultant ophthalmic surgeon leads this part of the training with the Phaco Development program specialists assisting participants with the surgical equipment in the wet lab.
This follow-up support happens over a period of up to six months. Since , the program has enrolled over ophthalmic surgeons across Asia and Russia who have performed almost 3 million patients regain their eyesight worldwide.
The World Health Organization indicates that having a cataract is one of the top two causes of vision impairment globally. In low to middle-income countries it is a leading cause of blindness. The International Association for the Prevention of Blindness estimates that one ophthalmologist should be able to complete up to 2, cataract surgeries per year, when they have the right infrastructure and support team in place, and patients can access the facility.
More in Optometry. Latest News. Load Next The program was advertised via ophthalmic discussion portals, and by word-of-mouth. The seven participating hospitals were-. Participant selection was flexible and dependent on availability of training slots.
Before starting the course, there were extensive discussions between the PDS and the participant highlighting the surgeon's need and surgical areas of improvement.
Participants were expected to fill out self-evaluation forms developed by the Alcon PDP team before the start of the program. Also, all participants were asked to share their cataract surgery videos with the host institute before start of the program facilitated by Alcon PDS. One PDS was assigned to the participant for the entire duration of two weeks.
Not only did the PDS act as a bridge between the participant and the host CoE, he also helped the candidate with daily wet laboratory sessions, understanding phacoemulsification equipment, facilitating faculty lectures and faculty training during surgeries. The PD course emphasized on mastering the basic steps of phacoemulsification.
Participants were first trained in patient selection and biometry. All patients undergoing cataract surgery signed an informed surgical consent prior to the surgery. The surgery was registered under a designated faculty's name, who was the training surgeon.
Exemption was sought from one of the participating Institute's Review Board IRB and the study was conducted in adherence to tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki. Trained and designated faculty at respective CoE supervised all surgeries. The participants started with uncomplicated cataract cases or basic steps of cataract surgery initially and graduated to performing the entire surgery towards the end of their course.
Some participants would get an opportunity to operate even on a few challenging cases depending upon their skill level. Post-operative rounds and surgical video discussion were an integral part of this training. The faculty delivered didactic lectures on relevant topics as and when possible. Case details and post operative findings were filled in a logbook at the end of every day.
Dedicated time was also spent in the wet-laboratory practicing steps of phacoemulsification on enucleated goat eyes under PDS's supervision.
Nuances of the phacoemulsification machine, fluidics, and phacodynamics were discussed regularly. Participants also got a chance to practice anterior vitrectomy, use of iris hooks, and capsular tension rings depending upon their need and expertise.
Post-program, the progress of each participant was followed by the PDS who was assigned to that participant during the two weeks.
The PDS followed up the participant for a minimum of 1 year, initially by visiting their facility 2 times every month for the first three months, then every month for next 3 months, then 3 monthly for the following 6 months.
In case the PDS could not travel to the participant's facility in person, telephonic updates were received and next possible visit was scheduled. All the surgical details were discussed in these visits. If required, with the help of the PDS, the guidance of the training faculty at the CoE was also taken for any particular difficulty that the participant surgeons faced during their phacoemulsification procedures.
The surgical data of the participants enrolled between June to August was shared by the participant doctors with the Alcon Phaco Development Specialist and was retrospectively analyzed. All participants were followed up for a minimum of one year. A total of Indian Ophthalmologists from 27 Indian states and 4 Union Territories were trained at the 7 training institutes over a period of eight years June till August Maximum number of participants were from the states of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal The mean age of the participants was More than half of surgeons, All participants were followed up for a mean duration of 4.
A total of 1,, phacoemulsification surgeries were performed by these participants, after finishing their PDP, all over the country over a period of 9 years and 2 months. Table 1 shows the baseline characteristics of participants enrolled in seven training centers over the last eight years and 2 months. On following up the participants, it was noted that Out of participants in the age group of 31 to 40 years, Also, In comparison, Doctors in various age groups and hospitals performing Phacoemulsification at 1-year follow-up and at final follow-up August Doctors performing Phacoemulsification at 1-year follow-up and at final follow-up August compared to the type of surgery performed by them before joining PDP.
The Indian medical education system requires approximately ten years to produce a specialist. Out of the annual ophthalmology residency seats on offer,[ 1 ] and roughly ophthalmologists being trained every year,[ 12 ] residency training varies considerably from program to program. Currently, there are residency programs where residents perform no more than 30 phacoemulsification,[ 17 ] as compared to an average of phacoemulsification performed by their Canadian counterparts.
It is not possible for every graduating ophthalmologist to commit to a long-term fellowship at a modest stipend due to several underlying reasons. The magnitude of this problem can be understood by the fact that cataract surgery complications are now reported to be the third most common cause of blindness in Indians above 50 years of age, accounting for 7. The Phaco Development Program was started for ophthalmologists to upgrade their surgical skills in a safe and monitored environment.
Most of the trainees were in the years age group This was expected, as this program is most popular amongst mid-career ophthalmologists wanting to learn or sharpen their skills of phacoemulsification. This is most favorable as these doctors still have many years to perform good quality cataract surgeries in their practice, and in a way contribute to country's cataract surgical rate. Only a small proportion of our participants were above the age of 60 years 2. At final follow-up, there was no statistical difference between participants of different age groups performing phacoemulsification, with the lowest understandably being performed in the above 60 years age group A very efficient by-product of our two-week program was the cumulative number of surgeries performed by doctors trained by this initiative.
A combined 1,, phacoemulsification surgeries were performed all over India over the last 9 years and 2 months, This re-iterates the idea that training and service go hand in hand. We would also like to highlight that at the time of joining the program, doctors For the training institutes, having got the opportunity to be involved in their training and to note that To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest series of ophthalmologists trained within a single program with longest follow-up.
Applicants enrolled in the Phaco Development Program from all over the country. This shows that they were motivated to learn and were willing to take a break from their work and travel for 2 weeks to upgrade their skill and knowledge. The decrease in the percentage of phacoemulsification surgeries being performed at final follow-up as compared to 1 year follow-up was the least among surgeons working in NGOs as compared to their counterparts working in GH, PEH or as individual practitioners.
This could be because the number of surgeries performed at NGOs is usually high and at a subsidized rate, giving the surgeon an opportunity to keep performing phacoemulsification. In models such as these, the doctors may not, sometimes, get a chance to operate as per their will. Most of the young ophthalmologists are focused on securing a long-term sub specialty fellowship at premier institutes. But with limited training opportunities, much larger number of applicants, and several limitations that may prevent surgeons from opting for a long-term fellowship, we feel that there is definitely a larger role for more short-term training courses.
This way, more number of ophthalmologists can be trained, and focus could shift towards mid-career ophthalmologists wanting to enhance their basic skills and becoming good comprehensive ophthalmologists. Such short-term yet monitored courses would add immense value in a country like ours, where resources and good opportunities are often missing. This paper also brings to focus the lack of opportunity, which exists in our system for skill up gradation for practicing ophthalmologists.
The PDP has in a way set up a role model for similar courses should in other subspecialties, which could provide support and supervision for ophthalmologists in practice interested in learning newer treatment modalities.
These efforts would help them in providing good ophthalmic care to the community and at a grass root level. We hope other organizations and institutes working in ophthalmic education can organize similar short-term training programs in various sub specialties and contribute not only to education but also indirect patient care. What is unique about this program, however, is the mutually beneficial partnership of the training ophthalmologists, trainee ophthalmologists and the ophthalmic industry.
Also, the idea of maintaining a logbook gives credibility to the program and allows the surgeons as well as the trainers to objectively analyze the outcomes of the training. Success of this course also is attributed to the constant follow-up and support provided by the team of dedicated and committed PDS as well as the entire team of the Alcon PDP.
Detailed 2-week break up of the program, meticulous planning, careful participant selection and long-term follow-up of the participant is the backbone of PDP. These activities will not only contribute to the training of the estimated 23, ophthalmologists in the country 10, ophthalmologists in and an average of graduating every year ,[ 12 ] but also help reduce the incidence of blindness.
During this time of global medical emergency, where there are talks of greater investment in medical technologies and as we expect global health policies to be re-written in the coming months, we should not forget the importance of investing in training doctors as well. National and global efforts are required where doctors, including ophthalmologists, receive standardized training platforms, so that we do not have a shortfall of skilled personnel. This particular program is one such example of how partnership model between industry and ophthalmologists can go hand in hand for training and skill development of doctors contributing to patient care across societies.
It also brings a novel concept of pre training assessment, standardized course curriculum with post course follow-up support, which can be replicated all over the country and may be other countries as well will ensure that the learning from the program is furthered and is practiced for a long time to come.
We would like to acknowledge the contribution of entire Phaco Development India team for their great efforts in consolidating the data, Mr. Ravindran Sreekanth International Director, Phaco Development for their guidance and support in building the framework and structure of Phaco Development.
Indian J Ophthalmol. Published online May Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Correspondence to: Dr. E-mail: moc. This is an open access journal, and articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.
Abstract Purpose: To assess the outcome of 2 weeks phacoemulsification training program that is a unique collaboration between premier ophthalmic training institutes of India and Alcon Inc. Methods: Cataract surgeons eager to adopt phacoemulsification surgery as the primary treatment modality were enrolled in an intensive 2 weeks training program across seven premier ophthalmic institutes in India. Results: Nine hundred 89 ophthalmologists across 27 Indian states and 4 Union Territories were trained between June and August Conclusion: This program highlights how partnership model between industry and ophthalmologists can go hand in hand for training and skill development of doctors contributing to much-needed improvement in patient care across societies.
Keywords: Cataract, phacoemulsification, training. Supplementary Table 1 Two-week training schedule for the participants. Open in a separate window. The seven participating hospitals were- Dr. Post-course follow-up Post-program, the progress of each participant was followed by the PDS who was assigned to that participant during the two weeks.
I think the Alcon Experience Academy is unique in that it gives you a huge range of resources. We have the top experts from across the globe talking about issues that are so relevant. And what I particularly like for myself and my practice and my staff is that these are short videos.
You know they have the pearls captured in 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes. Something that is very difficult for us to find in a concise manner — everything in one platform. Also, the fact that you have everything — cataract, retina, you have biometry, you have the basic optics, you have refractive surgery: this is a huge, this is like a goldmine of resource. Education can be engaging - the AEA is a good example of how learning can be active and targeted to meet needs.
There is a range of content with something of interest for all levels, from eye care workers, to trainees and consultants. The Alcon Experience Academy is a very comprehensive resource, full of up-to-date pearls for clinicians and their teams working in ophthalmology.
The wide-ranging educational modules are delivered by experienced ophthalmologists from all around the world, and I recommend you take time to review the wealth of information available there. Well I think it's a wealth of information through the world class lecturers on a range of topics.
You can use it and your staff can use it. For a wealth of resources at your fingertips go to AEA. The well known commitment of Alcon in teaching has entered a new era with the Alcon Experience Academy program. This is really an ambitious task that will, for sure, be very useful for those health professionals interested in continuous education in the field of eye care. The web site is so well designed and user-friendly that, I am sure, will have a great success worldwide.
Alcon has built an extraordinary resource for learning detailed information about surgical techniques, for novice and the most advanced surgeons. The content is comprehensive, addressing the needs of retina, cataract, refractive and glaucoma surgeons for both surgeon as well as team members.
The site is very easy to navigate, and the registration is straightforward. The Alcon Experience Academy is an innovative platform providing access to educational material throughout the subspecialties of Ophthalmology. The friendly UI and the content of the course library makes AEA a useful tool for eye specialists of every level.
Courses varying from basic knowledge to detailed presentation of surgical techniques aim to help in the improvement of everyday clinical practice.
The new website provides a one-stop station for clinician, nurses, technicians and hospital staff to access and refer for comprehensive and precise information on various aspects of ophthalmic surgery. It is a valuable source of all the necessary knowledge required for various healthcare roles including doctors and nurses.
I recommend this website to all healthcare professionals. The Alcon Experience Academy provides an excellent opportunity for e-learning on various medical and surgical topics, in different branches of ophthalmology.
The lectures are master readings that show the latest news. At the same time, there is opportunity to see the interaction between teacher and students, enriching the lessons of comparisons, questions and comments. The easy access makes the site a virtual teaching database, open to anyone who wants an update on different topics of ophthalmology. The Alcon Experience Academy is a sort of audiovisual encyclopedia for both ophthalmologists and nurses.
It offers simple and straightforward access to selected topics and it promotes the continuous education of the eye care enthusiasts. Alcon Experience Academy is a new educational platform for surgery in ophthalmology.
The website contains different topics in the form of lectures which are easily accessible. This new resource, together, with the assistance of skilled instructors providing wet lab training and hands-on experience at the Alcon Experience Center, will help improve your clinical expertise, whether you are an ophthalmic surgeon, nurse or technician.
Alcon Experience Academy offers opportunities that nobody should miss. AEA provides the theoretical basis for any professional to be trained in any aspect of ophthalmic surgery. From wherever and whenever you want. Those who start surgery have a unique opportunity to know equipment and the fundamental steps of any surgical process before facing their first surgery in a human.
Experts can acquire skills for more complex surgeries. And great experts have the opportunity to be generous and offer teaching to other professionals. We will all have our needs met and the great beneficiary will always be the patient. It is not limited to providing Alcon technology education for users, but relevant information of main subspecialties explained by recognized doctors.
Navigating through the website is easy and the video format with lecture segmentation gives quick access to the desired topics. This fantastic platform is friendly to use and gives eye care professionals the opportunity to be exposed to the latest advancements in many fields of ophthalmology, while contributing to the spreading of knowledge through quality assistance.
As medical professionals we embrace life-long learning. The content is engaging, fun, and easily accessible - any time, any place. The Alcon Experience Academy program is an innovative opportunity for a detailed e-learning in different fields of ophthalmology.
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