To study the feasibility and efficacy of a new remote wet lab for microsurgical education using a corneal suturing task.
Department of Ophthalmology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Prospective randomized controlled study.
Ten ophthalmology residents were stratified by postgraduate year and randomized to perform a corneal suturing task consisting of placing the 4 cardinal sutures for a penetrating keratoplasty in porcine eyes with or without remote ophthalmology attending feedback. Subsequently, both groups repeated the same task without remote feedback to test whether initial remote feedback affected subsequent performance. Finally, the group without feedback was crossed over to repeat the same corneal suturing task with remote feedback. The effectiveness of the remote wet lab was assessed subjectively by survey and objectively by grading each suture pass.
Resident-reported comfort with corneal suturing improved significantly after the remote wet lab for all residents. Residents and attendings rated the remote wet lab as equally or more effective compared with previous in-person wet labs and overall effective in corneal suturing. Attendings rated the remote wet lab as effective in multiple domains of microsurgical education using a modified microsurgical global rating scale. Objective corneal suturing performance was similar for both groups.
The remote wet lab was feasible and effective for training ophthalmology residents in corneal suturing. This represents a new social distancing compliant platform for microsurgical education during the COVID-19 pandemic.