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Educational Technology

1. Freeman Auditorium

The state-of-the-art Freeman Auditorium provides a wealth of learning technologies for the 21st century. Highlights include:

  • High-resolution 3-D surgical video
    In summer 2011, the HEI revolutionized surgical video in its Freeman Auditorium and Surgery Center with the addition of a three-dimensional, high-definition (3-D HD) surgical video system. HEI is among the first eye centers in the world to have adopted this exciting new microsurgical technology in its operating rooms. In fact, HEI goes beyond every other eye center. 3-D technology is not just in the operating rooms, but networked through the building’s entire A/V infrastructure. This enables live or prerecorded simulcasting of 3-D HD ophthalmic microsurgery to an audience of over a hundred viewers in our state-of-the-art Freeman Auditorium.

    The integration of this video system advances the effectiveness of surgical instruction at HEI, bridging a gap that has long existed between the teaching and practice of microsurgery. Although stereo operating microscopes have been used for over 50 years, surgeries could only be recorded in monocular (2D) video. Only now can the dimension of depth in a microsurgical procedure be accurately shared with students, which is especially important since the slightest error in depth can result in a damaged lens or scarred retina. These remarkable advances in A/V technology at HEI are made possible through the vision of Jerre M. Freeman, MD, HEI clinical professor of Ophthalmology and founder of the World Cataract Foundation, whose support led to the creation of the Freeman Auditorium and continues to advance its cutting-edge technology.

    Our ophthalmic physicians have been using the new 3-D HD system to perform procedures across several subspecialties. The system is ideal for display of cataract, corneal, vitreoretinal, glaucoma, strabismus, ophthalmic plastic and orbital surgery. In Spring 2013, the Freeman Auditorium also underwent a major upgrade renovation. All computer, audio, video and telecommunication hardware and software is now updated to the most current available technology.
  • Event video webcasting & archiving
    Our media webcast system allows us to share internet links that enable students, residents and health professionals to attend live webcast events of presentations by our faculty, residents, and visiting guest speakers. After these live events have transpired, they are stored in our media server and can be viewed at any time, providing an invaluable information and educational resource. This technology is available in both our Freeman Auditorium and interactive classroom.
  • Audience feedback system
    The audience response system at HEI is used weekly at grand rounds lectures. The system enables presenters to place poll questions in their PowerPoint lectures that the audience can answer with remote controls. The answers are then instantaneously transformed into a graphic representation on the slide in the form of a bar or pie chart. Not only does this create a heightened level of interest and involvement for participating students and residents in the audience, but it also reveals any gaps in knowledge and prompts our faculty to address them.
  • Listening technologies for the hearing impaired
    Assistive listening devices are available for those with special hearing needs. These personal sound systems provide listeners with the capability to amplify audio in the auditorium to levels suited for their needs.

2. The Jim and Virginia McGehee Skills Transfer Center

The Hamilton Eye Institute Skills Transfer Center is home to a wide array of advanced surgical training tools to educate the next generation of ophthalmic surgeon. In addition to traditional surgical training methods, we offer a suite of state-of-the-art computer simulation platforms inspired by the innovative mind of Jim McGehee, a major community leader and friend with a deep understanding of the value of simulator use in aerospace training.

  • Direct ophthalmoscope simulator
    In 2014, this simulator platform joined the suite of virtual reality training platforms available at HEI. The simulator accurately recreates the feel of a real ophthalmoscopic examination. When observed through the handheld optic, the simulator's gray plastic face appears as a lifelike virtual patient of varying age and gender who even blinks and flinches at the bright light. By presenting a wide spectrum of clinical cases with an increasing level of challenge, it helps teach the essential skills of recognition, diagnosis and management of retinal diseases. It displays what the student is examining, allowing an instructor to provide real-time guidance toward ocular landmarks and aid in diagnosis of abnormal findings while other students watch and learn. This represents a major advantage over traditional ophthalmoscopy training. 
  • Indirect ophthalmoscope simulator
    In 2011, HEI acquired a new indirect ophthalmoscope simulator to its HEI Skills Transfer Center. This highly advanced virtual reality workstation immerses its users in a hands-on training environment with a simulated patient who can present an array of different possible ophthalmologic conditions. By using the simulator, students and residents learn to perform an eye examination using indirect ophthalmoscopy to identify the computer generated patient’s symptoms. The system tracks students’ improvement over time by storing performance data, which can also be reviewed by faculty to identify areas in which the student may need more guidance. The simulator is very useful for localizing lesions and better understanding how certain pathologic cases present.
  • Surgical simulator
    The ophthalmic surgical simulator in the HEI Skills Transfer Center, which provides training in a wide array of cataract and vitreoretinal surgeries, received major software upgrades in 2011 and 2013. It has been updated to include the most current hardware and software, with a considerably expanded curriculum of new training modules, an improved interface, refined tissue modeling, and various other upgraded features. An ideal convergence of technological synergy, the surgical simulator can also record and export 3-D video of the virtual surgeries, which can then be edited and displayed on any 3-D-capable video system, including the Freeman Auditorium’s new 3-D HD projection system.
  • Cataract Training DryLab Kit
    Though not a computer-based simulator, this kit simulates multiple stages of cataract surgery. Learning the specialized techniques necessary to safely perform cataract surgery on live people requires a great deal of practice on suitably realistic substitutes for human tissue. This new simulator kit provides a level of tactile realism that is superior to both animal and computer models, providing a better feel for what the surgery is like in real life.

3. The William R. Morris, MD, Ophthalmic Education Center

This interactive classroom is equipped with specialized A/V technology, which was upgraded to the latest available technology in spring 2013.

  • Projection and telecommunications equipment enable a direct, two-way link with the Freeman Auditorium, HEI Surgery Center, or any remote telecommunication site in the world.
  • The digital whiteboard is a special type of plasma screen enabling our instructors to pull up pictures from our vast database of ophthalmic images and draw directly on them with the whiteboard’s digital color markers to highlight aspects of external or internal eye anatomy.
  • The classroom exam lane is a fully operational slit lamp station at the rear of the classroom, where students can be trained in performing exams and studying the eye.
  • The classroom is also equipped with a direct ophthalmoscope simulator (see above).
May 26, 2022