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For public including patients and carers

The College has a keen interest in promoting and supporting research that will improve patient care and provide benefits in terms of maintaining visual health and increasing awareness of the vital role that research has played in the enormous improvements in eye health over the past decades.

Clinical Research in Ophthalmology and Vision sciences:

As clinicians we know that sight is precious and good eyesight is important to all aspects of life including people’s quality of life. Children growing up with impaired eyesight face challenges in terms of development, education and social opportunities. Loss of eyesight is feared by the public and is rated as one of the most devastating experiences by sufferers of eye conditions.  The last decade has seen enormous improvements in the management of common eye disorders that can cause blindness such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachments. These improvements in patient management have been made possible because of decades of research effort into new treatments and better surgical techniques.

Examples where research has made a big difference to healthcare:

  • Injections of anti-VEGF drugs to treat “wet” age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease
  • New drugs and surgical procedures for treating glaucoma
  • Vitrectomy procedures for retinal detachments
  • Advances in surgery for cataracts in adults and children
  • Refractive surgery for treating corneal conditions

How can I get involved in research

Involvement of patients and the public (‘PPI’) at every stage of the research process is highly important – from identifying and prioritising research questions to securing funding for research and conducting the research and implementing the findings into changes in clinical services or practices or policies.

More information about PPI can be found at: http://www.invo.org.uk/

One of the key ways to get involved is to participate in clinical research as new discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders depend hugely on the generosity and willingness of volunteers, both patients and the public.

If you have an eye condition you can think about enrolling in a clinical trial.

Your eye doctor will also be able to advise you on what studies are going on locally

You can also explore the online database of available clinical research studies that are going on worldwide to see if there is a local UK based centre that is taking part and other websites such as: visionbridge.org.uk

If you don’t have an eye condition but would like to contribute to the research agenda there are ways of getting involved

Find a local organisation or support group that works with visually impaired people the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Fight for Sight, The Macular Society, International Glaucoma Association, RP Fighting Blindness and The Eye Care Trust.

Check with your local hospital. Every NHS hospital has a research department which is part of the medical and governance directorate and will have a nominated contact

Other sites with information on research in the UK include the research and development forum and the Research Governance framework document.