HelpMeSee: Transforming Lives Through Training – Part IV
Deepika Macha, Ophthalmologist and Eye Surgeon at the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, discusses how HelpMeSee is improving the quality of cataract surgery in India
Sarah Healey | | 3 min read | Interview
How has the simulator helped your practice?
I took time out from surgery to balance my studies and family commitments. When I returned, I joined a fellowship with the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) but I felt hesitant because I had been away for so long. The instructor-led, simulation-based training has been a great tool; allowing me to regain confidence in surgical techniques before I directly operate on patients. We were given around 15 days to adjust to the simulator – and every day we were assessed with theoretical tests and practical sessions. We were able to spend a good amount of time with the simulator – I think this was especially helpful for people who had graduated during COVID-19 and had no experience of surgery.
What difference has this training made?
At the LVPEI, we all come from very different places where there can be low quality instruments, as well as good and bad teaching. HelpMeSee’s instructor-led simulation-based training is great because it standardizes the process: Unless you master a technique, you are unable to move onto the next step – it’s similar to popular games that require you to complete one level before moving to the next. The HelpMeSee instructor-led
process involves practicing the step, mastering the step, and then implementing the step in real practice. I am a more confident, skilled surgeon as a result.
Could you give us an insider’s view of LVPEI?
It’s a very big institute – and there’s a lot going on; the visual rehabilitation center is a particularly special place. What’s great about the whole institution is the patient-centered approach to everything. The consultants at LVPEI shape their schedules around a patients’ availability (if a patient is only here for four days, consultants make it a priority to get everything done before that patient leaves). There is also great connectivity between the branches; we have everything in one building – from microbiology to cornea and refractive.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to find out more about myopia – it is something that affects me and my family but also something that is becoming a major epidemic. Irrespective of age, I have seen a dramatic increase in the rates of myopia because of an increasing addiction to gadgets and indoor activity. Parents often don’t understand how damaging gadgets are – they just see that it calms their children down and prevents hyperactivity. It’s so important for parents to encourage their children to go outdoors instead of encouraging indoor activity. I’m also interested in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. I’m taking baby steps at the moment and trying to learn progressively.