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Influence of medical student career aims on ophthalmic surgical simulator performance (part of the international forum for ophthalmic simulation studies)
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    Using the Duke Elder exam as a determinant of ophthalmic career interest

    We thank S N Gillan et al for their original study investigating the influence of medical student career aims on ophthalmic surgical simulator performance. The authors reported no association between medical student interest in pursuing an ophthalmic career and microsurgical task performance.

    The authors recruited subjects from the medical student division of the ‘Moorfields Academy’ and deemed these subjects as students with career interests in ophthalmology. However, we suggest that a more accurate measure in determining ophthalmic career interest would be whether these students had undertaken the ‘Duke Elder exam’, an annual national undergraduate prize examination in ophthalmology, and the only specialty-specific prize examination in the UK. We believe that undertaking the ‘Duke Elder exam’ and the preparation that this involves demonstrates commitment to the ophthalmic specialty more than being a member of the ‘Moorfields Academy’. Almost 30% of candidates ranked in the top 20 in this exam eventually pursue an ophthalmic career [1].

    Moreover, as the ‘Duke Elder exam’ can be taken multiple times during the course of a medical degree, it would have been particularly interesting to examine the correlation between the frequency that this exam had been taken with microsurgical task performance. However, we would also like to state that a proportion of the subjects in this study have likely undertaken the ‘Duke Elder exam’. Finally, using the ‘Duke Elder exam’...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.