Eye Conditions

  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: Allergic conjunctivitis is inflammation or irritation of the clear mucous membrane lining the inner eyelids and sclera called the conjunctiva.
  • Artificial Cornea: When a natural cornea transplant is not an option, artificial corneas may work.
  • Blepharitis: Blepharitis is a common inflammatory condition that typically affects the eyelids, but can secondarily involve the cornea and conjunctiva.
  • Cataracts: Appearing as cloudy areas in the eye’s lens, cataracts cause loss of vision and eventually blindness.
  • Chronic Conjunctivitis, Varieties of: Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent tissue that covers the outer surface of the eye.
    Conjunctivitis that persists for four or more weeks is considered chronic.
  • Corneal Disease: Wilmer specialists diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases and injuries to the cornea such as infections and scratches.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: This common complication of diabetes can cause swelling of the retina (macular edema) and mild to moderate blurring of vision.
  • Dry Eye/Sjogren’s Syndrome: Characteristic symptoms include a sandy or burning sensation, discomfort, blurred vision, and redness of the eye that progresses as the day goes on.
  • Episcleritis: Episcleritis is an inflammatory condition affecting the episcleral tissue between the conjunctiva and the sclera (the white part of the eye) that occurs in the absence of an infection.
  • Eye Infections: Physicians treat viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections of the eye and potentially serious complications of allergies and infections.
  • Eye Tumors: Affecting vision, tumors usually arise as retinoblastoma in children and melanoma in adults.
  • Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy: Fuchs endothelial dystrophy is genetic it specifically affects the front surface of the eye (cornea). The pumping cells become dysfunctional and cause corneal swelling as a result the individual loses the ability to see details (visual acuity) and becomes sensitive to bright lights.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a group of disorders in which vision is progressively lost, most often without symptoms noticed by the affected person over the years.
  • Inflamed and Irritated Eyes: Includes conditions Allergic and Chronic Conjunctivitis, Blepharitis, Episcleritis, Keratitis (Corneal Ulcers), Ocular Cicatricial Pemphigoid/Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid, Pterygium, Scleritis, and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Keratitis (Corneal Ulcers): Keratitis is an inflammation or irritation of the cornea (the transparent membrane covering the iris and pupil) characterized by typical symptoms of red eye, foreign body sensation, pain, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, and blurred vision.
  • Keratoconus: Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye (ocular) condition characterized by progressive changes in the shape of the cornea. The cornea is the thin-walled, “dome-shaped” transparent region forming the front of the eyeball; it serves as a protective covering and helps to focus or bend (refract) light waves onto the retina at the back of the eye.
  • Low Vision and Visual Rehabilitation: Low Vision, caused by a variety of diseases, is a collective term for vision loss that cannot be reversed by glasses, medication, or surgery.
  • Macular Degeneration: Not easily detectable, macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in Americans over 50.
  • Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, and Astigmatism: Difficulty in seeing objects close-up, far away, and other blurry vision is caused by irregular eyeballs.
  • Ocular Cicatricial Pemphigoid/Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid: Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid (MMP) is a rare, inflammatory autoimmune disorder characterized by blistering lesions that affect the mucous membranes of the body, especially the mouth and the eyes.
  • Pterygium: A pterygium is a raised, wedge-shaped growth of the conjunctiva (the surface tissue of the white of the eye) that extends onto the cornea.
  • Scleritis: Scleritis, similar to episcleritis in terms of appearance and symptoms, is usually much more painful and can lead to vision loss due to progressive inflammation of the ocular tissues.
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome: Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a disorder that causes painful blisters and lesions on the skin and mucous membranes and can cause severe eye problems.
  • Strabismus & Amblyopia: (deviated eyes), amblyopia (known as “lazy eye”).

Eye Conditions

Questions to ask your doctor or the researcher conducting the research study

  • What is the purpose of the research?
  • Who is doing the study?
  • Is there any cost to me?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What kinds of tests and exams will I have to take while I’m on the study? How long will they take?
  • What other treatment choices do I have? How do they compare with the treatment being studied?
  • Is it possible I will receive a placebo? (A placebo is a pill that contains no medicine). Are there risks? If so, what are they and what are the chances they will occur?
  • Can I stop participating if I change my mind?
  • Whom do I contact for answers to my questions?

Phases of Medical Research

Medical research studies are classified into a few different phases. Each phase has a different focus, but all work towards the goal of finding a new or improved treatment. These phases include:

Phase 1 Research Studies

In Phase 1, a new drug or treatment is tested on a small group of people — usually about 20 to 80. The new treatment has already been tested for safety in the lab and animals and has shown to have good potential for helping humans. It has also been submitted to a government regulatory agency and approved for use in human testing. The purpose of this phase is to find out if the treatment is safe for humans, and if so, how much should be given and how often the medication should be dosed per day. Those who participate in Phase 1 Studies are watched very closely (usually requires overnight stays), and the researchers record and evaluate any side effects that may happen after individuals have taken the study drug.

Phase 2 Research Studies

In Phase 2, a larger group of people receives the drug or treatment. There can also be a placebo group that does not receive the new investigational medication or treatment. The main purpose of this phase is to find out whether or not the new treatment is effective in treating the patient’s disease or medical condition. The safety of the drug or treatment continues to be studied in this phase, and any side effects are carefully documented and reviewed.

Phase 3 Research Studies

A larger group of people are involved in Phase 3 studies. Those who participate in Phase 3 are usually randomly assigned to different groups. In one group, up to a few thousand people will receive the new treatment. Another group receives the standard treatment for the same medical condition or receives a placebo. This is called the “control” group. The side effects and treatment success in people receiving the new treatment are compared to those in the control group. This helps the researchers know if the new treatment is safer and more effective. During this phase, researchers will continue to collect information about side effects and also study how often the condition returns and the effects of the treatment on the patient’s quality and length of life. After Phase 3 studies are completed, a new medicine or device may be submitted to the FDA or other governing agency to be reviewed and considered for approval.

Phase 4 Research Studies

Once a new treatment has been approved, there may be additional clinical studies performed. These are called Phase 4 studies. These studies are conducted for several reasons. One of these is to find out how effective the treatment is in different groups of people — such as those of the same race or age group. Another is to see if the treatment can be more effective if administered differently. For example, a pill can be changed to a topical cream for a more direct approach to muscle/joint pain. Information is also gathered about the long-term effects of the treatment.