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OP-7 Our experience of DMEK wet lab-training course as a precursor to starting DMEK service at NHS Trusts during COVID-19 pandemic in UK
  1. Tina Khanam1,2
  1. 1Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Spire, St. Anthony’s Hospital, Sutton, UK


*Correspondence - Tina Khanam:

Objective The benefits of simulation model and wet lab training courses have been well publicised. We were keen to introduce DMEK service in our NHS trust and put simulation and wet-lab training courses to the test for corneal consultants.

Methods We designed and held DMEK wet lab courses using human donors and the simulation model and wet lab training for consultants. We collected surveys pre- and post- wet lab course attendance. We also recorded their performance times. We used human research grade corneas and Phillip DMEK, Kitaro model eye, artificial anterior chambers for consultants.

Results All participants had practiced all the steps of DMEK and improved performance times. All reported to have increased confidence level as a direct result of the wet lab courses. All steps of DMEK surgery except graft manipulation were closely simulated to real-life surgery on patients. Out of the six consultants participating, two started DMEK services in their respective NHS trusts in the following month, with others planning to start DMEK services in the coming months.

Conclusions The benefits of simulation and wet lab training is particularly valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic, which drastically reduced the availability of donor cornea, thus grinding to a halt corneal graft surgery nationally for many months. Surgeons, regardless of grade (beginner to advanced) can keep their skills up using wet lab and simulation. This setting also improves safety for patients.

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