Clinical Vision Research

Advancing care with new clinical vision research.

While basic eye research employs laboratory work to increase the understanding of the fundamental disease processes that underlie vision, clinical vision research uses human participation to study the effectiveness of specific drugs or procedures in detecting, diagnosing, preventing and treating eye disease. Through our extensive clinical vision research program, which includes both clinical trials and investigator-initiated studies, the Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is advancing eye care.

Comprehensive clinical vision research

Our researchers, physicians and staff are actively involved in many areas of clinical vision research, including:

  • Cornea: Innovative approaches to treating corneal disease, including corneal collagen cross-linking as a novel treatment for keratoconus and corneal ectasia
  • Glaucoma: Drug and device research, including studies of drug efficacy and safety as well as investigations of new technology for early detection
  • Human visual function: Research focused on the application of visual electrophysiology and psychophysics for the detection and diagnosis of eye disease, and on clarifying the principles of visual functioning underlying the successful development of a visual prosthesis
  • Neuro-ophthalmology: Studies of the potential link between various medications and the development of neuro-ophthalmic diseases, such as ischemic optic neuropathy
  • Oncology: A range of research approaches for eye cancer, as well as consultative support for cancer studies being carried out by Henry Ford Medical Group oncologists
  • Retina: Drug and device studies on diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, macular degeneration and other areas of retinal eye research

Vision clinical trials

Many of our clinical vision research projects are collaborative national vision clinical trials, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pharmaceutical or medical device companies or national associations. These vision clinical trials explore new approaches in prevention, detection and treatment of eye disease, and may include new devices or drugs, comparative treatment studies and studies focusing on safety and/or efficacy. These types of studies help to isolate the most appropriate care methods. Ultimately, the collective knowledge gained from these vision clinical trials facilitates developing new standards of care that benefit all patients.

Investigator-initiated studies

In addition to vision clinical trials, physicians in the Department of Ophthalmology also engage in investigator-initiated trials. These are studies designed by each physician and, in many cases, are sponsored by outside agencies or charitable foundations. Investigator-initiated studies often are broader in scope, as they can encompass any area of interest to the physician. There are two types:

  • Retrospective studies: In these clinical vision research studies, the investigator determines the outcome of interest and then reviews records of patients (i.e., looks backwards) to evaluate the treatments or risks in relation to outcome of interest.
  • Prospective studies: In these clinical vision research studies, the investigator develops the protocol and defines the outcome(s) of interest. Then, over time (i.e., looking forward), the investigator examines the occurrence of the outcome(s) and relates their occurrence to factors such as treatment or risk.

Advanced treatment for eye disease

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology has extensive experience in the treatment of all eye diseases, regardless of their complexity. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it. Our patients have access to advanced diagnostic tests and treatment and, if eligible, related vision clinical trials.


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