Purpose: The integration of swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) into the operating microscope enables real-time, tissue-level three-dimensional (3D) imaging to aid in ophthalmic microsurgery. In this prospective randomized controlled study, we evaluated the impact of SS microscope-integrated OCT (MI-OCT) on ophthalmology residents' performance of ophthalmic microsurgical maneuvers.
Methods: Fourteen ophthalmology residents from a single institution were stratified by year of training and randomized to perform four anterior segment surgical maneuvers on porcine eyes with (MI-OCT+) or without (MI-OCT-) direct intraoperative OCT guidance. Subsequently, both groups repeated the same maneuvers without MI-OCT feedback to test whether initial MI-OCT experience affected subsequent surgical performance. Finally, the MI-OCT- group was crossed over and allowed to repeat the same maneuvers with direct MI-OCT guidance. Each resident completed a survey at the completion of the study.
Results: With direct MI-OCT feedback, residents demonstrated enhanced performance in depth-based anterior segment maneuvers (corneal suture passes at 50% and 90% depth and corneal laceration repair) compared with the residents operating without MI-OCT. Microscope-integrated OCT+ residents continued to outperform the controls when both groups subsequently operated without MI-OCT. For clear corneal wound geometry, there was no statistically significant effect of MI-OCT as applied in this study. Overall, the resident surgeons rated their subjective experience of using MI-OCT very favorably.
Conclusions: Microscope-integrated OCT feedback enhances performance of ophthalmology residents in select anterior segment surgical maneuvers. Microscope-integrated OCT represents a valuable tool in the surgical education of ophthalmology residents.