Cataract facilities are bustling places, so it helps to provide the surgical team with a quick and easy way to reference clinical data when they're preparing patients for surgery. That's why we came up with a "license plate," a printout of a patient's electronic medical record that we tape to the arm of the surgical microscope.
It includes the patient's name, age, eye data, description of the cataract density, maximum dilation recorded during the clinic exam, whether special viscoelastic is needed and the presence of cornea guttata or other unique anatomical qualities such as loose zonules or previous eye trauma that could increase the case's complexity. That information makes the time out simpler — it's most of what needs to double-checked during the pre-op pause — but it's perhaps more helpful for the surgeon. From my seat, I'm able to determine what phacoemulsification power to use and whether patients are at their maximum dilation, which lets me know if I'll need to use a pupil-expanding device or dilation solution. Plus, if I happen to forget a patient's name during a busy day of surgery, I'm reminded with a discreet glance at the sheet.