Introducing “Oph-Sim” Mannequins for Medical Students to Practice Diagnosing Eye Ailments

The best Thai craftsmanship! “Oph-Sim” retinal examination training mannequins by researchers of the Faculties of Medicine and Engineering, Chulalongkorn University are great tools for medical students and doctors to hone their expertise in retinal examination while saving significantly on imports of mannequins from abroad.

Diagnosis of retinal diseases is a delicate matter that needs speed and accuracy for the comfort of the patients so that they do not have to stare at the bright light for too long. This requires the expertise and experience of the examining physicians.

Oph-Sim mannequin for retinal examination
Oph-Sim mannequin for retinal examination

Mannequins for retinal examination are already being used to teach medical students, but they are imported and hence expensive, and customization to match the learning objectives is therefore quite limited. Therefore, the Chula research team consisting of Assoc. Prof. Suparat Jariyakosol, M.D., Assoc. Prof. Suppapong Tirakunwitchcha, M.D., Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, and Asst. Prof. Dr. Werayut Srituravanich, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering jointly developed “Oph-Sim”, a quality, low-cost, training mannequin for retinal examination developed by Thais.

Assoc. Prof. Suparat Jariyakosol, M.D. Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University
Assoc. Prof. Suparat Jariyakosol, M.D.

“Diagnosis skills for the optic nerve and retinal abnormalities is an important skill of general practitioners and ophthalmologists alike, as it makes the diagnosis of other neurological ailments possible, such as papilledema or swelling of the optic nerve from high intracranial pressure, macular degeneration due to diabetes, and glaucoma,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Suparat said.

Retinal examination training with the Oph-Sim mannequin using an ophthalmoscope
Retinal examination training with the Oph-Sim mannequin using an ophthalmoscope

“In the past, medical students practiced examining the retina with an ophthalmoscope with imported dummies which were quite costly and had their limitations.  This is because the slides showing images of retinal deformities tend to deteriorate quickly and are few in numbers. So, we thought it would be great to develop the mannequins ourselves at an affordable price using modern technology to send images to a digital monitor that will display sharp images of what we want.  Students will see clear and diverse samples of the retina.  The lecturers can explain the conditions while the students examine the mannequins.  We’ll have a more effective training.”

Mannequins with more case studies at an affordable price

Assoc. Prof. Suppapong Tirakunwitchcha, M.D. Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University
Assoc. Prof. Suppapong Tirakunwitchcha, M.D.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supapong explained that the Oph-Sim mannequin is made from simple components: a mannequin, a transmitter, and an application. Professors simply upload the retina images they want to teach onto the app. The images will then be displayed on the monitor of the mannequin.  Medical students then shine the light on the mannequin’s eyes with an ophthalmoscope to practice simulated examination.

“The retina images displayed on the digital monitor are sharper than slides and have no glare. There is also a joystick that can control the dummy to roll its eyes to simulate the patient’s actions. Moreover, professors can add more interesting retinal images to the application continuously without having to buy pricey slides that have a short lifespan. Students will also be able to learn about a wide variety of cases,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supapong enumerated on the strengths of the innovation.

The Oph-Sim Mannequins are now operational

Since August 2021, Med Gateway Co., Ltd., founded by the research team to produce and market Oph-Sim mannequins, has already delivered them to many hospitals such as Buddhachinarat Hospital, Rajavithi Hospital, Songkhla Hospital, and Chulalongkorn Hospital.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Werayut Srituravanich, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University
Asst. Prof. Dr. Werayut Srituravanich

“In the future, we wish to develop additional features such as mini-quizzes to allow students to test and assess their abilities. We also hope to create a network of ophthalmologists. When they find interesting cases, they can share pictures with the groups to allow experts to share their opinions on the cases, and learn together. Then these case images can be used for further teaching and learning to develop the expertise of physicians,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Werayut concluded.

Hospitals, universities, and agencies interested in Oph-Sim retinal exam training mannequins by the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University can contact Med Gateway Co., Ltd. Tel. +668-4754-9493.

The sense of kinship and warmth found in the Chula community is priceless and a treasure worth keeping.

Prof. Dr. Pornanong Aramwit Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University

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