Custom Surgical Developed the First AR Smartphone Application that Guides and Scores Capsulorhexis in Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is currently the most commonly performed surgery on humans worldwide and treats a disease, which results in clouding of the human lens. If left untreated, cataract can lead to blindness, as light is no longer able to reach the retina. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 65.2 million people were affected by vision loss due to cataract in 2019.
The main causes for cataract are trauma, congenital disease and especially age. Demographic changes lead to an increased incidence of cataracts and thus, to a higher demand for ophthalmologists who can perform cataract surgery. However, cataract surgery is a challenging procedure, as it must be performed under microscope guidance and requires micrometer-level precision. Hence it has a long learning curve.
Developing Innovative Tools for Medical Learning and Training
Learning with the support from an expert surgeon is very costly. Students usually rely on constant support from expert surgeons to enhance their techniques. Currently, VR training systems are being used to help surgeons and students improve their outcomes, nevertheless, these systems are costly and lack feedback from real physical instruments and eyes, limiting their use to well-funded hospitals and training institutions.
“There is a need to develop tools to help train surgeons and assist the entire population needing ophthalmic surgeries”
The most critical step in cataract surgery is capsulorhexis, and mastering it takes time and practice. We are presenting iTrain Rhexis in collaboration with Bioniko, an accessible augmented reality system to use as training and evaluation solution for capsulorhexis, for any surgeon worldwide. In contrast to the current simulators, our proposed solution is much easier to set up, is able to evaluate the surgeon’s performance based on predefined criteria, and provides the possibility for further research based on the collected data through this training system.
“We can continue implementing Augmented Reality applications that guide students on the different steps of microscopic surgical procedures. This will allow us to create affordable, portable and highly customizable Augmented Reality setups to train large numbers of students in microscopic surgical procedures. Thus, decreasing the learning efforts and time, and therefore increasing the number of qualified personnel to operate.”
iTrain Rhexis is the first AR app to train eye doctors to perform cataract surgery on their own smartphones. Now the training can be much more efficient and use experts' time more productively.
Students can take their time to understand how it works and get accurate guidance before an expert is ready to give more advanced advice.
This new way of training capsulorhexis empowers students and uses experts’ time more effectively.