Live streaming of cataract surgery

Cataract surgery live streaming could assist medical students

Colin Kerr

Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021

Dr Murad Khan

Live streaming of cataract surgery could help deliver safe enhanced experiential learning to undergraduate ophthalmology teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Free Paper presented at the 25th ESCRS Winter Meeting Virtual 2021.
In his paper “Live Streaming Cataract Surgery – A Unique Solution To Reduced Theatre Opportunities For Medical Students”, Dr Murad Khan, a Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCL and Basildon University Hospital, UK, pointed out that the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable disruption to teaching.
“Opportunities to observe operations were typically scarce prior to the pandemic, and given social distancing rules and concerns over transmission of the coronavirus these chances have been reduced even further. Experiential learning can help medical students solidify experiences and engage in reflective practice,” he said.
Dr Khan, working with Mr James Myerscough and the Ophthalmology Department in Southend University Hospital, reported what they described as a novel, inexpensive method of live-streaming cataract surgery to enable medical students to engage in experiential learning during the pandemic.
For their research, they used a consumer-level laptop, an inexpensive video capture cable and free video conferencing software. The video signal from the operating microscope was relayed to the laptop, where the screen was then live streamed 13 miles away to medical students in the University Hospital. Recording of the operation to the cloud was also done simultaneously.
“We found our method to be simpler and cheaper than those previously reported in the literature,” said Dr Khan. “We did not require any additional expensive equipment to record the videos or convert the video output” he said.
“I think one really important fact is that the theatre environment wasn’t that different to what it would be on any given day with the clinical staff on hand to answer questions from the medical students and there wasn’t any undue pressure on the operating surgeon given the set-up that we had,” said Dr Khan.
Dr Khan concluded that with the advent of 5G, HD and 4K, live-streaming resolution is now possible given the strengthening of the digital infrastructure during the global pandemic. “This technique would be of interest to ophthalmologists who wish to deliver safe enhanced experiential learning to undergraduate ophthalmology teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

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