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Patient and Public involvement in NHS eye research

Clinical research in ophthalmology has enabled delivery of new treatments for ocular conditions and improvements in normal clinical practice for NHS patients. Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) strategy for ophthalmology is crucial to ensure successful conduct of studies in a timely manner and to achieve the desired recruitment targets. NIHR aims to engage the general public, especially those with eye conditions, and their relatives/carers to improve awareness of current and future research.

NIHR’s goal is to provide equal opportunities for patients around the country to be aware of actively recruiting studies and to be able to participate at their nearest research site. Direct participation in clinical trials allows patients the opportunity to be involved in new and emerging techniques as part of their NHS care in a carefully monitored environment ensuring patient safety and accurate assessment of patient related outcomes. This interaction also improves better eye disease understanding as well as encourage patient participation in developing research studies. By involving patients in assessment of research proposals, patient-focused treatment goals are given priority in research applications.

The UK Clinical Trials Gateway has been developed to enable patients, interested in participating in research, to sign up to a database. The patients can list their research field of interest which can be accessed by approved researchers. This gateway enables patients to connect directly to researchers, thus enabling targeted identification of suitable patients to a particular study, ultimately leading to faster recruitment to time and target.