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NIHR information for Optometrists

The UK Government has embedded research and innovation within the NHS (Health & Social Care Act 2012). The National Institute for Health Research has promoted, funded and coordinated a Clinical Research Network that is divided into 15 regions. Within these regions, NHS research takes place in primary and secondary care facilities and in the case of Ophthalmology, is primarily consultant-led, although increasingly there have been optometrists who have taken on roles of site investigator for studies. Across the UK many optomerists are engaged as research optometrists in studies and these individuals are listed in the database of eye research-active staff at hospital-level called OPERA (OPhthalmology Encyclopedia of Research Architecture). For information from the OPERA database, please contact the Specialty Cluster D Manager, Ian Nickson, on ian.nickson@nihr.ac.uk

To engage with NHS research, optometrists need Good Clinical Practice training, a simple obligatory fundamental on-line course that trains all healthcare workers in the principles of research within the NHS.

This webpage is designed to sign post optometrists who are already/are thinking of participating in NHS research, as follows:

Optometrists are involved in basic, translational and clinical research in both primary and secondary care settings across the UK, with many on-going studies featuring on the NIHR CRN portfolio. The College of Optometrists actively promotes optometric led research through the provision of research grants for optometrists at all career stages and settings. These include undergraduate student scholarships, practice-based ‘iPRO’ grants, post-graduate doctoral scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships and clinical fellowships (specific to hospital settings), with all awards for clinical research based in NHS settings being eligible for incorporation on the NIHR CRN portfolio. Further information on optometry led research, together with funding opportunities offered by the College of Optometrists, may be found in this link to the College’s research pages.