What can clinical medical research offer me?

Clinical studies are undertaken to determine if a particular treatment will be better than an existing treatment(s.) No study is carried out without the approval of an ethics commission that determine that the study meets all current ethical and legal requirements. If we are carrying out a study, it is because we do not know which of the two alternatives is the better one. Since we do not know which is the best choice, patients are often assigned in a random way to one or the other treatment.

Patients participate in a clinical study for different reasons. In general, it is hoped that the new treatment may provide more benefit that the currently available options. Patients that participate in a trial have to meet strict recruitment criteria and a strict follow-up protocol. As a result, they get a level of follow-up and care that often is above the general norm in clinical practice. Some patients also participate for altruistic reasons, for current or future generation of patients. The cost of medications required for the clinical study are most often covered by the sponsor of the trial.

The data we obtain during the course of your care is frequently evaluated to help us improve our treatment results. We sometimes publish our results to allow others to benefit from our observations. When you are operated, some tissues are disposed of at the end of surgery (cataract, vitreous, membranes). As these specimens contain information about the state of your eye, we sometimes collect this material to help us understand why your eye and that of other patients became ill. For the collection of the specimens and their conservation, we may ask you to sign a consent form allowing us to make use of them.

It is important to realize that your willingness or not to participate in a clinical study does not change the level of care and attention we will give to your treatment. Participation is purely on a voluntary basis.