Students at the medical school formed as a partnership between TCU and UNT Health Science Center toured the Alcon campus Tuesday in Fort Worth. Sixty first-year medical students saw tools and technology developed by the eye care company.
"We've been able to do simulation eye cataract surgery, which is awesome," says first-year student Alejandra Gutierrez. "I've never had a clue of how it's actually done. To be able to use the simulated reality they had was really cool."
Alcon is based in Fort Worth. The company's Melissa Thompson says Alcon has worked with the Fort Worth Medical School to build students' interest in ophthalmology.
"That helps build up those self-sustaining systems so eye care is readily available in those smaller markets where there aren't a lot of eye doctors," she says.
Thompson says making eye care easily available can also help students succeed in school.
"Eighty percent of what a child learns in a classroom is visual," she says. "Being able to see is critical to their development as a student but also as an athlete and just an individual. They're better able to pursue their interests when they can see well."
"This is a relationship with Alcon that is beyond belief," says Stuart Flynn, dean of the Fort Worth School of Medicine.
Flynn says students could get hands-on experience to see the tools and equipment now available.
"When I say, 'hands-on,' I mean very significant activities, what ophthalmologists do: surgery, other kinds of manual dexterity, using robotic capabilities, just an unbelievable experience," he says. "We won't just solidify our phenomenal relationship with Alcon, we'll end up with ophthalmologists who didn't know they wanted to be an ophthalmologist until today."
Flynn says the medical school has worked with Alcon to build a large ophthalmology curriculum.
"When you go your primary care doctor, your eyes are a part of that exam, not just ophthalmologists look at your eyes," he says. "We would like our graduates to be prepared, when they go into residency programs, to already be well down that road of general standard of care with regards to the eye."
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