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YO Programme: Starting Phaco

The young ophthalmologists programme will be one of the highlights of this year's ESCRS Congress

Colin Kerr

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Panellists and presenters who attended the Young Ophthalmologists Programme at the 36th Congress of the ESCRS in Vienna in 2018
We can all learn from our mistakes.
That is why the Young Ophthalmologists Programme (YOP) day-long session devoted to the topic of “Starting Phaco”, including ‘Learning from the Learners’, will be one of the highlights of this year’s ESCRS Congress. The Programme will be held on Saturday 14 September and will run from 08.30 to 16.00.
During the Programme, which will be chaired by Oliver Findl, Simonetta Morselli, Filomena Ribeiro and Kaarina Vannas, young ophthalmologists will be taken on an instructive journey through the various key stages of phacoemulsification, from the initial incision through to hydro-dissection, fragmentation and IOL implantation.
The emphasis will be on interaction and participation rather than passive learning, with young ophthalmologists submitting videos illustrating problems encountered or mistakes made in the course of their own early steps into cataract surgery.
During the presentation, Dr Findl and his co-chairs will comment on the individual videos, suggesting how the YOs might have taken a different approach to ensure a better outcome.
Dr Findl, Chairperson of the ESCRS Young Ophthalmologists committee said that the interactive nature of the Programme is very important. “It’s a brave thing to do, highlighting one’s errors for the benefit of discussion, in order to help others overcome similar situations that might crop up in their own surgeries,” he said.
“Everybody can take something home, because these are the type of experiences that we all have as surgeons, particularly when we are starting out in our surgical careers,” he said.
Dr Findl says it is also important to note that there are not always correct or incorrect answers when dealing with complex surgical challenges.
“We have an experienced panel of surgeons and they will emphasise that there are several different approaches which can be taken when dealing with a complication or an issue that arises during surgery.”

Fear of failure
While all ophthalmologists, young or old, will have an inherent fear of failure,
the internationally acclaimed musician and writer Tracey Thorne has pointed out that there is a thin line between success and failure
“…….failed job interviews, infertility, divorce, illness. Human frailty, vulnerability, and, ultimately, that one great failure none of us can avoid, mortality – they glue us together, or should do,” said Thorne in an article in the New Statesman magazine (New Statesman, 20 February, 2019).
This view was also shared in a recent EuroTimes Eye Contact interview with Dr Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill, Professor of Anterior Segment Surgery at Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) and a Consultant Surgeon at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS).
“There is a saying ‘The master has failed more than the trainee has tried’,” said Dr Ní Dhubhghaill. “When you see this amazing surgeon doing amazing surgery, so quickly and so elegantly, you may wonder ‘how will I ever get there’.
“You have to remember that the surgeon you are observing did not come out of medical school doing that. They have had bad days, they’ve had failures.”
Dr Ní Dhubhghaill said that part of her job as a mentor is to try and convince young surgeons not to quit out of the surgical programme.
“Every young surgeon, when they have their first complication, sits at home, loses sleep and wonders ‘should I have let somebody else do this procedure?’ You need, as a mentor, to help them over these roadblocks because you have to remember that someone helped you over your roadblocks,” she said.

The Young Ophthalmologists Programme will run all day on Saturday 14 September in South 2


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