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Residents & Young Ophthalmologists

External exposures impact novice vitreoretinal surgeons’ performance

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Alcohol was found to diminish surgical performance whereas propranolol was found to improve performance in novice vitreoretinal surgeons, according to a study.

In this prospective, self-controlled, cross-sectional study, the surgical performance of 15 vitreoretinal fellows with <2 years of experience using a simulator was assessed after various external exposures, including:

Day 1: placebo or caffeine (2.5 and 5 mg/kg)

Day 2: placebo or propranolol (0.2 and 0.6 mg/kg)

Day 3: baseline simulation, breathalyzer reading of 0.06% to 0.10% and 0.11% to 0.15% blood alcohol concentration

Day 4: baseline simulation, push-up sets with 50% and 85% repetition maximum

Day 5: 3-hour sleep deprivation

After increasing alcohol exposure, surgical performance was found to worsen. After propranolol exposure, performance was found to improve.  Caffeine (2.5 mg/kg) was negatively associated with dexterity. Short-term exercise and acute sleep deprivation were not found to change performance.

Roizenblatt M, Jiramongkolchai K, Gehlbach PL,et al. A multifactorial approach for improving the surgical performance of novice vitreoretinal surgeons. Retina. 2021;41(10):2163-2171. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0000000000003147. PMID: 34543245.