I took part in a joint project of AOCA and JICA beginning in February 2007 to teach Phacoemulsification surgery in Nepal and other Asian countries. The purpose was to increase number of ophthalmologists in Asia who could perform cataract surgery through Phacoemulsification. Cataract is the number one cause of blindness so that training for prevention is most essential. In Nepal, I got the opportunity to train and instruct Phaco-Surgery to ophthalmologists in training.
Unfortunately, we encountered a problem in that it was not easy to find good pigs’ eyes that were fresh and in the required quantity for training. Also, the training required, test eyes from younger pigs so there were no sign of cataracts that could be used. This was difficult to source. Also, in some Asian countries pig eyes cannot be handled by people from certain communities for religious reasons, which added to our difficulty in training successfully.
In search of an alternative to solve our problem, we started to develop a simulated eye to practice surgical exercise. Such simulated eyes would be suitable to train so that anyone could learn and teach cataract surgery at a cheap price, readily available and transportable anywhere in the globe.
The result of our research in solving the problem led to the cataract surgery kit produced by KITARO, which gave a close simulation of a real eye for ophthalmologists to train on. The announcement of the KITARO was very well received globally, evidenced by the Silver Award, Gold Medal, and Silver Award for three consecutive years at the Phase Film Award of the Japan Comprehensive Ophthalmologic Surgery Association for Video Competition and for two years at the Europe Cataract Optic Surgery Association (ESCRS). We also received recognition from esteemed academic conferences around the world.
The KITARO cataract surgery training kit in now available in Dry Lab, Wet Lab, and Multi-lab versions, and we have introduced new products to meet additional training needs.
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