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Vision for All

Posted on November 18, 2019

Q&A with Dr. Karla Pamela Gonzalez-Daher from the Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmológica

In 2019 HelpMeSee worked with Dr. Karla Pamela Gonzalez-Daher, an Anterior Segment Surgeon at the Institute Mexicano de Oftalmologia (Mexican Institute of Opthalmology or IMO) to incorporate the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator within Dr. Gonzalez-Daher’s Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) class.

Dr. Gonzalez-Daher teaches MSICS to advance IMO’s mission of providing quality eye health care to the poor. Her classes are open to IMO Residents and Fellows, as well as outside practitioners who support charitable healthcare missions through Latin America and the Caribbean. Consisting of theoretical lessons, wet-labs and supervised surgeries on patients, the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator in Dr. Gonzalez-Daher’s MSICS class will provide students with educational practice opportunities that would not otherwise be available. Furthermore, the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator’s programmable scenarios will enhance Dr. Gonzalez-Daher’s students’ education to manage complications that might be difficult to manage unexpectedly in live surgeries.

Why did you decide to become an ophthalmologist?

My father is an ophthalmologist, and I had the good fortune of growing up in a clinical environment. I used to go with my father as a child on morning rounds to the hospital and sometimes went with him to the operating room. I like the experience of working with people and helping others to see. I can make a difference in the lives of many, from little kids to grown-ups. This is why I became an ophthalmologist.

How did you find out about the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator?

I heard about the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator from Dr. Van Lansingh two or three years ago. Dr. Lansingh is on the staff at IMO and has been involved with my work for several years.

When Dr. Lansingh described the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator project initially, I thought it was a high-tech wet lab. I am familiar with wet labs and, at the time, knew of no other options for training surgeons to make incisions. The HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator seemed to be a complicated and sophisticated system for performing a task that already existed. I couldn’t understand how a simulator could help train or develop skills for cataract surgery.

Of course, after using it, I realized I was wrong. I could see how the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator was more than a high-tech wet lab. It is a sophisticated platform. At the same time, the software is easy to use and breaks down the cataract surgery procedure into steps. Students can practice these steps one at a time and strive for perfection in each of them.

How would the HelpMeSee Simulator improve MSICS training at IMO?

The Eye Surgery Simulator training program would increase our proficiency as it contains a system that measures the development of students’ skills. Each session is graded and, where needed, I follow up with personalized advice. A wet lab does not allow for this type of grading. I, as an instructor, can only see what the students are doing visually. Within a wet lab, evaluating the depth of an incision, how far the student may be going with their tunnel is impossible to determine. Yet, on a simulation, these assessments are measurable. I can also set objective standards for cataract surgeon training.

The HelpMeSee Simulator is a great tool that will help surgeons develop their skills. The software on the Simulator records all movements for review and feedback. The HelpMeSee Eye Simulator at IMO would be an incredible addition to our MSICS training program as we only have one lab at this time 

Are students enthusiastic about the arrival of the HelpMeSee Simulator to the IMO MSICS program?

Our current students, residents and Fellows are familiar with the Eye Surgery Simulator training program and are eager to learn more. They look forward to being part of the program. The students watched a video and are serious about using high-tech simulation-based tools.

What will be the impact of the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator on the MSICS training community? 

The HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator will advance the accomplishments of MSICS in a short time. It will heighten standards by informing the instructor when someone is ready for hands-on patient training. It can develop a better surgeon and translate into fewer complications at the beginning of training when the surgeon transitions from being a junior surgeon to an experienced senior surgeon. Altogether simulation-based training will mean better results for our cataract patients.

I look forward to working on this project with HelpMeSee and am excited at the thought of moving forward.

We depend upon gifts from donors like you to place Simulators at IMO as well as at other MSICS training partners across the world. Dr. González-Daher wants to help the cataract blind. Donate today so that we can support her:

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HelpMeSee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the United States.

The HelpMeSee mission is to eradicate preventable cataract blindness globally. We achieve this through an innovative, scalable simulation-based cataract surgical training program. Our program covers Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS), Phacoemulsification Simulation-based Training Course (PSTC), Suturing Simulation-based Training Course (SSTC), Complications Management Course (CMC), Phacoemulsification to MSICS Differences Course (PMDC), and MSICS to Phacoemulsification Differences Course (MPDC). These offerings empower eye care professionals to refine their skills, master vital procedures, and excel in ophthalmology. We are dedicated to restoring vision for those with severe visual impairment and cataract-induced blindness worldwide.

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