Clinical Trials in Opthalmology

The Wikipedia defines Ophthalmology as ” the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems. Since ophthalmologists perform operations on eyes, they are both surgical and medical specialists.”

This article will tackle clinical trials in ophthalmology conducted in different universities. One of the eye diseases covered by this branch of medicine is astigmatism which is very common. Other medical conditions that affect the eye, vision and eye diseases are cataracts, conjunctivitis, cystoid and diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, eye infections or disorders, glaucoma, macular degeneration and edema, ocular hypertension, posterior uveitis, retinities pigmentosa, retinoblastoma, siogren’s syndrome, uveitis and vitreous hemorrhage.

At the University of Wisconsin, their Clinical Trials Unit for Ophthalmology has been carrying out a research with human subjects for over 20 years and have expanded to include trials related to pediatric ophthalmic disease, ocular melanoma, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion and diabetic macular edema. Originally, their mission was to manage research endeavors associated to age-related macular degeneration. The Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) conducts trials to provide prospective treatments and other options for eye patients but the most important role is to guide  patients who are in the process of treatment. CTU strives hard to give the most restructured medical treatments and techniques, along with their dedication in prioritizing the safety of their patients.

In Stanford School of Medicine, they have centers for Vitreoretinal Disease, Electrophysiology of the Retina, Cornea and External Diseases and a designated eye center which includes clinical studies for Dry-Eyes in Graft-versus-Host Disease, efficacy study of Zymar and Vigamox and intravitreous injections. In line with the clinical studies, Stanford is a world-renowned teaching hospital because of its state-of-the-art procedures that have evolved through clinical trials and due to its aim to ensure the best possible results to treat the patient’s conditions. The Ophthalmology Department delivers professional care for a large array of ocular disorders both to adults and children.

The University of Miami Health System has a Bascom Palmer Eye Institute where their CTU provides space, infrastructure and regulatory support for clinical trials and research.  There are almost 40 clinical trials, epidemiology studies and outcomes which is still ongoing and funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), commercial organizations and private foundations. Their major focus are clinical trials on anti-angiogenesis therapeutics for the wet form of retinal disorders like age-related macular degeneration.

There is a summary and practice guide paperback by Peter J. Kertes entitled “Clinical Trials in Ophthalmology” which summarizes significant findings and recommendations of a major clinical trial which currently has 5-star reviews at amazon.com. Optometrists and optometry students will find this very useful as it includes a good summary of important studies in ophthalmology for reference . It is definitely a “must have” for practicing ophthalmologists.