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The Eye Clinic: Learn about clinical trials

Basics of Clinical Trials

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are medical research studies in which people volunteer to participate. A clinical trial is used to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new procedure, medication, or device to prevent, diagnose, or treat an eye disease or disorder.

Generally, medical research begins in laboratories. After a treatment shows promise in the laboratory, it is tested in a study to determine if it will be beneficial for the patients.

A clinical trial could test the effectiveness of a new drug for age-related macular degeneration or a new surgical technique for cataract removal.

What are the types of clinical trials?

The following four types, or phases, of clinical trials exist:

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Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health USA.gov