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August 11, 2008

Surgeon's Corner

Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(8):1140. doi:10.1001/archopht.126.8.1140

With this issue, Archives of Ophthalmology introduces Surgeon's Corner, a new section of the journal intended to address surgical aspects of ophthalmology. The acquisition of basic medical and scientific knowledge is a core requisite of medical education, and gaining new knowledge is an equally important part of maintaining competency in medical practice. This is also critical in surgical eye care but poses distinctly different challenges than the maintenance of medical knowledge. Becoming proficient in new procedures can be daunting, particularly after completion of one's residency training. Additionally, surgical education does not come about simply by reading and listening but also by seeing and doing. Fortunately, the Internet has become a medium that medical journals can use to add the “seeing” aspect of obtaining medical knowledge to complement their subscribers' reading. The ease with which surgical videos can be posted online and viewed across the world is a luxury unavailable to previous generations of practitioners. With this luxury also comes the ongoing challenge all Internet users face—filtering through the massive amounts of available information to extract that which is accurate, reliable, and useful. Making matters even more complicated are manufacturers of medical equipment, who do a wonderful job of continually introducing improved instrumentation and more effective but technically more complicated equipment. Reliable data on the performance of medical devices are difficult to decipher from marketing materials. Despite subscribers having the chance to view new and beautifully performed surgical procedures, the responsibility still remains with the journal to ensure that publicized procedures are accompanied by data supporting the techniques' safety and efficacy.