Clinical Trials 101: Research and Clinical Trials For Ophthalmologists

by Emil Balitaan, MD

The participants of the Clinical Trials Workshop 101 organized by the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology and the Eye Institute of St. Luke's Medical Center. Speakers are Mara Therese P. Evangelista, MD, DPDS and Mr. Nick Huber, PhD.

Clinical Trials 101: Research and Clinical Trials For Ophthalmologists

        Research and writing scientific papers have always been the bane of most ophthalmologists. An even more daunting obstacle is starting to work on one. For that reason, the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology in cooperation with the Eye Institute of St. Luke’s Medical Center organized a Clinical Trials Workshop 101 last April 1, 2017.

      The goals of these interactive lectures are to increase the awareness of the participating ophthalmologists regarding the basics of research paper appraisal, simplify the research concepts and encourage the ophthalmologists to apply the acquired knowledge in writing a very good research paper. The very capable and enthusiastic speakers for the whole day activity are Mara Therese P. Evangelista, MD, DPDS and Mr. Nick Huber, PhD.

        The workshop began on how to write a good research paper and how clinical trials should be done.  The meeting was interactive as the speakers invited the participants to answer during the discussion as well as to accomplish questionnaires and practice exams to augment the key points discussed in the lecture. The workshop was very fitting for ophthalmologists as the speaker provided clinical scenarios that address ophthalmic problems. In detail, the workshop was divided into sections of a clinical trial. The steps into drafting and complying with a trial’s methodology was discussed as well as solutions to avoid bias when producing a clinical trial. The conference also gave tips on avoiding common traps in writing scholarly articles. Tips like "Do not write a book chapter" or "Do not repeat what is already in the introduction" are common pitfalls that budding researchers get into. Statistics is an unavoidable part of research but the lecturers took time and effort to make it simple and less painful. One of the sessions began with "Statistics for the Faint of Heart" and reviewed basic statistics that ophthalmologists would have already forgotten but is still important when trying to analyze the research data.

        A day would not be enough to cover all the concepts in writing scholarly papers but the speakers and organizers did a great job in teaching ophthalmology residents and consultants the crucial points in producing a quality clinical trial. The workshop proved to be essential as the discussion were focused on practical and applicable aspects of research that would not be fully explained just by reading research and statistics reference materials

         This workshop has certainly made clinical trials less daunting, especially for ophthalmology residents. It could be said that the activity boosted the interest of the audience because it promoted the fact that with the proper guidance any clinical paper can be very well written- be it a groundbreaking research or simply an endeavor that an ophthalmologist is very interested on.

About The Author

Emil Balitaan, MD is an ophthalmology resident doctor at Ospital ng Makati. His non-medical interests include graphic design, photography, and video production. He enjoys reading Asian literature and enjoys spontaneous adventures.