Eye tracking in surgical education: gaze-based dynamic area of interest can discriminate adverse events and expertise

Eric Fichtel, Nathan Lau, Juyeon Park, Sarah Henrickson Parker, Siddarth Ponnala, Shimae Fitzgibbons, Shawn D. Safford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Eye-gaze metrics derived from areas of interest (AOIs) have been suggested to be effective for surgical skill assessment. However, prior research is mostly based on static images and simulated tasks that may not translate to complex and dynamic surgical scenes. Therefore, eye-gaze metrics must advance to account for changes in the location of important information during a surgical procedure. Methods: We developed a dynamic AOI generation technique based on eye gaze collected from an expert viewing surgery videos. This AOI updated as the gaze of the expert moved with changes in the surgical scene. This technique was evaluated through an experiment recruiting a total of 20 attendings and residents to view 10 videos associated with and another 10 without adverse events. Results: Dwell time percentage (i.e., gaze duration) inside the AOI differentiated video type (U = 13508.5, p < 0.001) between videos with the presence (Mdn = 16.75) versus absence (Mdn = 19.95) of adverse events. This metric also differentiated participant group (U = 14029.5, p < 0.001) between attendings (Mdn = 15.45) and residents (Mdn = 19.80). This indicates that our dynamic AOIs reflecting the expert eye gaze was able to differentiate expertise, and the presence of unexpected adverse events. Conclusion: This dynamic AOI generation technique produced dynamic AOIs for deriving eye-gaze metrics that were sensitive to expertise level and event characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2249-2256
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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