CataractMobile app helps teach eye surgery using iOS simulation

Purpose of App Review

To evaluate the CataractSurgery and CataractMobile app as a fun way to increase knowledge about cataract surgery.

Introduction

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries worldwide.

Because of how delicate the structures of the eye are, few people outside of ophthalmology will ever get the chance to do one or even assist in one.

CataractSurgery (iPad) and CataractMobile (iPhone) are apps that aim to bring the amazing experience of cataract surgery to all of us who are not in ophthalmology, as well as provide some entertainment to ophthalmologists.

User Interface

CataractSurgery has a very minimal interface. There are only 3 menu options: capsulorhexis (finger), capsulorhexis (forceps), and phaco. Unfortunately for laypersons, there are no instructions or explanations of cataract surgery and the techniques being simulated.

The capsulorhexis modes simulate the technique of continuous curvilinear capsulorhexis. It is a method of opening the anterior lens capsule during cataract surgery to access the lens.

The first mode, capsulorhexis (finger) simulates this by asking the user to direct the procedure with their finger. The procedure is timed and scored, and there are option for adjusting parameters including pupil size, capsule tension, and tear direction.

The capsulorhexis (finger) mode isn’t terrible realistic or challenging, but luckily there is the capsulorhexis (forceps) mode which more accurately simulates the physics and feel of the actual technique. The same settings are present, and the game will display notices when rhexis is complete or failed.

Having performed continuous curvilinear capsulorhexis in the wet lab before, I do feel this mode does do a reasonable job of approximating the feel of procedure, though obviously not the the experience of manipulating forceps.

The last mode is phaco, which simulates the technique of divide and conquer nucleofractis phacoemulsification. The goal is to phacoemulsify the lens into quadrants (divide and conquer via phacoemulsification and rotating the lens) prior to mechanically fracturing the lens and subsequent vacuuming.

A cross section view is provided for the user to adjust the handpiece angle to go deeper into the lens. Bewilderingly, the game displays notices for complications including posterior capsular rupture, but it never notified me of when I finished phacoemulsification.

The iPhone app has all the content present, although controls feel different on the smaller screen. It has not been optimized for iPhone 5 yet.

CataractSurgery and CataractMobile are great apps for simulating 2 techniques of cataract surgery. The graphics are quite simple, especially in comparison to other iOS games, but I nonetheless had more fun with this than many other iOS games.

Unfortunately, this app is completely confusing to those who have never seen a cataract surgery or don’t have terms like “phacoemulsification” in their vernacular. The game would greatly broaden its appeal with the addition of instructions or videos showing and explaining the techniques in real life. As emphasized in the app description, this app is not meant for cataract surgery training (that would require a 3D game with tactile input and feedback).

Price

  • Free

Likes

  • Fun game that simulates 2 techniques of cataract surgery
  • Capsulorhexis with forceps reasonably simulates the feel in real life

Dislikes

  • Mostly bewildering to those not familiar with cataract surgery
  • Would greatly benefit from clearer instructions and additional educational material

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • Ophthalmologists, ophthalmology residents, medical students with an interest in ophthalmology, anyone with an interest in cataract surgery

Conclusions

  • CataractSurgery/CataractMobile are fun simulations of cataract surgery that would benefit greatly from addition of educational material.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes

iTunes iPad Link
iTunes iPhone Link

Rating: (1 to 5 stars) 3.5 stars
User Interface: 3 – Simple but clunky
Multimedia usage: 2 – Needs more multimedia explaining cataract surgery techniques
Price: 5 – Free
Real world applicability: 4 – Fun for getting a taste of cataract surgery

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.

Author:

Darwin Wan
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