New skills programme

The European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology (ESASO) is a pioneer in postgraduate education.

Colin Kerr

Posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology (ESASO) is a pioneer in postgraduate education. This September, ESASO extended its educational activities: together with renowned universities, ESASO has developed a new programme for residents to build-up surgical skills necessary to become ophthalmologists.

One year ago, the Swiss-based school inaugurated its ESASO Training Centre (ETC) in Lugano. With its state-of-the-art facilities the ETC provides a solid base for tailored education, hosting 16 wetlab workstations, four dry lab stations and a classroom for up to 60 participants. Learners train their skills in diagnostics and surgical techniques and can choose from different medical devices. The innovative multimedia equipment captures surgical techniques on an elevated level, and allows faculty members to interact with the participants individually or in the group.

The pilot phase of the newly launched programme has successfully started with residents from three Italian universities. A second roll-out phase will involve German and Polish universities and will be launched during 2018 and 2019.

ESASO aims to support its partners by training residents and preparing them for their future careers. Complementary to the training ESASO will offer tailored programmes for wet and dry lab activities. The participants will learn about surgical steps and processes, become familiar with the OR environment and perform surgical interventions. They will benefit from shared knowledge from senior colleagues guiding them through their individual learning experience. The benefit for the participant is to gain hands-on experience without pressure, sharing knowledge while assisting colleagues to perform their surgeries, and reflecting on outcomes with experts and other participants.

Depending on the varying university specialisation curricula, ESASO’s tailored programmes can include several days of wet and/or dry labs: vitreoretinal surgery and/or cataract surgery with a virtual simulator; and vitreoretinal and/or cataract in the wet lab.

The dry lab, with its virtual simulators, allows residents a stepwise approach to consecutive surgical attempts without time-consuming preparations; an efficient personal and equally professional experience that would require years of practice in a real-world environment and with real patients.

This newly created residents training programme creates a win-win-situation between ESASO and stakeholders. It will allow partner universities to include an effective preparation for their residents learning current concepts while using sophisticated technologies and medical devices correctly. The participants will benefit from acquired hands-on skills while mastering their knowledge in surgery and required steps for clinicians.

ESASO can offer these benefits to medical department at your university and support your resident training programmes. For more information see, or contact ESASO’s head office at