Clinical Research Trials
Clinical research trials are studies conducted to determine whether a medical treatment, device, or technique is safe and effective. Your participation in clinical research trials can help future patients with your specific condition.
Chances are, there is always some type of clinical research trial underway at any point in time. In the field of ophthalmology, these studies focus on treatments for various eye diseases and conditions.
How Do Clinical Research Trials Work?
If you are thinking about participating in a clinical research trial, the best place to start is by speaking with your doctor, who may already know about a study you may be a good candidate for.
After you enroll in a study – assuming you meet its criteria – you agree to undergo a specific type of treatment or receive a placebo in order to evaluate its effectiveness. In many clinical research trials, you and the research team will not know if you received the actual treatment or the placebo. Each study is conducted for a particular length of time, which will be relayed to you up front.
The trials can only take place after relevant health authority / ethics committee approval has been granted, indicating satisfactory data about its nonclinical safety.
Why You Should Consider Participating in a Clinical Research Trial
The biggest benefit of participating in a clinical research trial is potential access to newer and better treatments – typically a drug or procedure not yet available to the general public. This may be of particular interest to patients suffering from dry macular degeneration, where there are extremely limited treatments currently available.
Generally, the treatments offered in the clinical trial are free of charge. You may even receive a stipend from your participation in the study, especially if any travel is required.
Participating in clinical trials also gives you the opportunity to benefit other patients like you and the scientific community as a whole by contributing to the understanding of how to best treat a particular disease.
How Are Patients Protected During a Clinical Trial?
Patients who participate in a clinical trial are protected by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). These entities oversee all clinical research trials to ensure the rights and welfare of all study participants.
For more information about clinical research opportunities, visit the following websites:
- Clinical Trials: What Patients Need to Know, FDA
- NIH Clinical Research Trials and You, NIH
- ClinicalTrials.gov, a database of clinical studies conducted around the world
- Get to Know ClinicalTrials.gov (video)
Are you interested in participating in an ongoing clinical research study? Your South Florida Vision Associates ophthalmologist can help you identify the type of study that would be most beneficial for you, depending on your eye or ophthalmological condition. Contact the South Florida Vision Associates ophthalmology location nearest you to find out more.