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Stories Of Hope

Posted on November 18, 2019

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

HelpMeSee is working with the Dr. Karla Pamela Gonzalez-Daher an Anterior Segment Surgeon at the Instituto 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 at IMO.

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 Carribean. Consisting of theoretical lessons, wet-labs and supervised surgeries on patients, the HelpMeSee Simulator in Dr. Gonzalez-Daher’s MSICS class will provide students with educational practice opportunities that would not otherwise be available. Furthermore, the HelpMeSee Simulator’s programmable scenarios will enhance the education of Dr. Gonzalez-Daher’s students 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 even 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 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 Simulator project to me at first, I thought it was a high tech wet lab.  I am familiar with wet labs and at the time, know of no other options for training surgeons to make incisions. The HelpMeSee 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 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 Simulator training program would increase our proficiency as it contains a system that measures the development of students’ skills. Each session is graded on the Simulator and, where needed, I could follow up with personalized advice. The 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, evaluation of the depth of an incision, how far the student may be going with their tunnel is impossible to determine, yet these assessments are measurable with the HelpMeSee Simulator. With the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator, I can 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 Simulator training program and are eager to learn more. They look forward to being part of the program. The students have 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 increase the accomplishments of MSICS in a short time. The HelpMeSee Simulator will heighten standards by informing the instructor when someone is ready for hands-on patient training. With the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator, I can develop better surgeons. The HelpMeSee Simulator can translate into fewer complications at the very beginning of training when the surgeon is transitioning from a junior surgeon to an experienced senior surgeon. Altogether the HelpMeSee Simulator 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 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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