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Subspecialties Retina, Business and Innovation

The Future of Learning: A Safe and Realistic Training Environment for Rop Management

sponsored by Haag-Streit Group

Approximately 14,000 preterm infants in the United States develop retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), making it one of the leading causes of preventable childhood blindness worldwide (1). While an early diagnosis can prevent its progression, performing a retinal examination on a premature infant poses significant challenges. Until now, residents have learned to perform the examination on the infant patient, a situation that often results in reduced heart rhythm and additional stress. This issue inspired Swiss medical device company Haag-Streit to develop The Eyesi Indirect Ophthalmoscope ROP: a high-fidelity augmented reality simulator.

But how does the technology work? The simulator consists of a head mounted display, a patient model head, and mimics of lenses and scleral depressor. When trainees wear the ophthalmoscope device, they are presented with an immersive 3D simulation of the patient. Correct positioning of the lens is essential to view the inner eye structures. As trainees use the scleral depressor to examine the peripheral retina, they experience realistic haptic feedback from the rubber model eye, enhancing the lifelike experience. The child’s presumed behavior in reaction to the examination, such as crying, is also included in the simulation. The Eyesi Indirect Ophthalmoscope ROP allows trainees to practice and gain experience in device handling and decisionmaking, independent from hospital routine and patient flow. The embedded curriculum teaches the main characteristics of ROP and how to recognize the different zones and stages for deciding on appropriate control intervals and/or the need for treatment. Moreover, the simulator offers objective feedback and evaluation of a trainee’s performance.

With the capacity to prepare trainees for more precise examinations in real-life scenarios, the simulator is set to change the landscape for ROP training and management. Customers can expect the technology to be released in January 2024.

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  1. A Nair et al., “A Review on the Incidence and Related Risk Factors of Retinopathy of Prematurity Across Various Countries,” Cureus [Online ahead of print] (2022). PMID: 36589197.
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