HelpMeSee, the not-for-profit global campaign to end cataract blindness, today announced a landmark achievement in medical simulation training with the completion of its Eye Surgery Simulator. Equipped with sensory touch feedback and realistic virtual graphics, the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator, incorporated within the HelpMeSee Training Program, supports the training of cataract specialists on the Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) procedure, a solution that could help end the global cataract blindness crisis.
“The HelpMeSee team, as well as technology partners HARMAN, InSimo, and Surgical Science, are pleased to announce this medical advancement to advance vision health across the globe,” said HelpMeSee President and CEO Saro Jahani. “The HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator overcomes the traditional restraints of cataract surgery training with unlimited virtual practice opportunities. It also offers the benefits of remote simulation-based training during the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting the risks of exposure to coronavirus infection.”
More than 60 million people across the world are blind or severely visually impaired simply because they cannot access cataract surgery, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). The HelpMeSee Simulator and training program along with partners can develop a significant number of cataract specialists that public health experts say are needed to address the developing world ophthalmologist shortage, a factor behind the cataract surgery backlog.
The simulator was the innovative vision of Flight Safety International Founder Albert L. Ueltschi and his son, James “Jim” Tyler Ueltschi. In 2010, they founded HelpMeSee to end the backlog of cataract and visual impairment cases caused by the lack of access to high-quality, affordable cataract surgery.
Jim Ueltschi, Co-Founder and Chairman of HelpMeSee, said, “This achievement will truly change the world of ophthalmology. Every specialist we train on the Eye Surgery Simulator will treat thousands of people each year. Over time, millions will have their vision restored through the cataract surgery skills honed on the HelpMeSee Simulator.”
The HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator encompasses an adaptation of an actual virtual microscope used in surgery, two haptic handpieces, a virtual syringe, the patient head and hand rest, and a touchscreen user interface, powerful visuals and simulation software, and everything required to simulate an MSICS surgery. The two handpieces and syringe represent the complete set of surgical instruments needed to perform an MSICS procedure. Programmed lessons with onscreen guides and error messages assist the student in mastering the MSICS technique and the instructor in providing objective feedback.
HelpMeSee is a global not-for-profit campaign to end the backlog of cataract blindness and visual impairment caused by the lack of high quality, affordable cataract surgery. For more information, go to HelpMeSee.org.