Match to Ophthalmology Clinical Trials
Eyes are sensitive organs, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that most people will have some kind of vision-related problem at some point in their lives. Eye problems can be mild and short-lived, like pink eye, allergies, mild infections, etc. However, diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, ocular melanoma, and many others can be very dangerous.
Aside from eye diseases, many people have to wear eyeglasses because they have trouble seeing up close or identifying objects that are far away. This problem is called refractive error, and it happens when the shape of the eye prevents light from accurately entering into the retina.
Most types of refractive errors can occur at any age, and in many people their risk of developing refractive errors significantly increase if their parents also had them. While there are many treatments available for both eye diseases and refractive errors, there is still much to learn about eye health and how to prevent common vision-related problems.
What Are Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are research studies designed to test, observe, and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new medical treatment or intervention. This intervention can have many forms; in some cases the intervention is a new medication designed to treat or prevent the occurrence of a disease, it can be a new surgical procedure or technique, or a behavior modification intervention of lifestyle changes.
After researchers design a study and conduct preliminary tests, they invite volunteers to take part in the clinical trial part of the study to test the intervention. Volunteers can be found in many places; some people might hear about a research study from their doctor, particularly if they have a condition or disease that is being studied. Some bigger research studies are even broadcasted on the radio or television to recruit participants.
The most important thing you should know about clinical trials is that they are always completely voluntary. The decision to participate or not is entirely up to you, and if you decide not to participate or to withdraw from a study, you are still entitled to the same healthcare you were receiving before.
Why Are Ophthalmological Clinical Trials Important?
Our eyes are one of the most important organs in our bodies; without healthy eyes we would not be able to see the world around us. However, there are many conditions that can put a damper into good vision.
During clinical trials, researchers are not only testing medications or devices to figure out if they are effective or not, they are also learning how certain diseases and conditions develop and act in the body to draw conclusions about how to prevent them.
Degenerative conditions of the eye often end up in total or partial blindness, which can rarely be reversed. Ophthalmological clinical trials provide doctors and scientist with a lot of information about these conditions, so that they can keep developing treatments and preventive strategies to avoid irreparable ocular damage.
Are Clinical Trials Safe?
Clinical trials are generally safe. Before a researcher or doctor even begins recruiting participants for their study, they must develop a very thorough plan explaining the reason for the study and how they are planning to conduct it. This is called a study protocol. The study protocol must be approved by internal and external regulatory agencies that will determine if their study is safe, fair, and that it will not put any participant in risk.
All these measures are taken to ensure that even if complications or side effects come up during the study, all research staff is prepared to handle them and even terminate the study if necessary.
What Will I Gain From A Clinical Trial?
Some clinical trials offer monetary compensations for participants. However, by participating in a clinical study, you will be helping the medical field advance their knowledge about a particular condition or disease. By doing this, and even if the intervention you participated in did not give you any direct benefits, you will be helping pave the wave for more effective and potentially life-saving interventions in the future.