The first cut is the deepest: basic surgical training in ophthalmology.

Research paper by A A Gibson, M G MG Boulton, M P MP Watson, M J MJ Moseley, P I PI Murray, A R AR Fielder

Indexed on: 16 Nov '04Published on: 16 Nov '04Published in: Eye


To examine the basic surgical training received by Senior House Officers (SHOs) in ophthalmology and the influence on training of sociodemographic and organisational factors.Cross-sectional survey of SHOs in recognised UK surgical training posts asking about laboratory training and facilities, surgical experience, demographic details, with the opportunity to add comments.A total of 314/466 (67%) questionnaires were returned. In all, 67% had attended a basic surgical course, 40% had access to wet labs and 39% had spent time in a wet lab in the previous 6 months. The mean number of part phakoemulsification (phako) procedures performed per week was 0.79; the mean number of full phakos performed per week was 0.74. The number of part phakos performed was negatively correlated, and the number of full phakos completed was positively correlated, with length of time as an SHO. Respondents who had larger operating lists performed more full phakos per week (P<0.001). Compared to men, women were less likely to have access to a wet lab (P=0.013), had completed fewer full phakos per week (P=0.003), and were less likely to have completed 50 full phakos (P=0003). SHOs' comments revealed concerns about their limited 'hands on' experience.There are significant shortcomings in the basic surgical training SHOs receive, particularly in relation to wet lab experience and opportunities to perform full intraocular procedures. SHOs themselves perceive their training as inadequate. Women are disadvantaged in both laboratory and patient-based training, but minority ethnic groups and those who qualified overseas are not.