March 26, 2014 6:25 pm

How ‘quiet eye’ may help train surgeons

Jean-Sebastien Evrard / Getty Images

CALGARY- Researchers have their eye on a technique used by elite athletes, in hopes it will help young surgeons improve their skills.

‘Quiet eye’ is a focused gaze just before making a critical movement, such as shooting a hockey puck. In a recent study, researchers compared the eye movements of experienced surgeons with trainees performing thyroid operations on cadavers

They found that before a tricky part, experienced surgeons used quiet eye while the trainees did not.

Researchers say using the technique may help trainees become experts sooner.

“This research is still in its infancy, despite the fact that it’s been done in elite athletics for more than a decade,” explains surgeon Dr. Adrian Harvey. “These are the first studies looking at telling the differences, then using it as a training tool. So, we intend to move this technique onto more complex longer operations rather than just parts of operations like tying the knots.”

The study, first published in the American Journal of Surgery, also looks at whether quiet eye helps medical students learning different surgical skills.

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