Clinical Research

Eye Doctor conducting clinical research Years of academic achievement and involvement in research, blended with private practice and patient care, creates an ideal climate for clinical research and is one of the unique aspects of our practice. A strong commitment to clinical research results in our focus on the highest standards set by the industry, such as strict adherence to protocols and good clinical practices, as well as complete and accurate documentation. Our experience and attention to detail set us apart and provide the expertise, knowledge, and background required to conduct clinical trials in a compliant and proficient manner. We are dedicated to providing the most technologically advanced, cost effective patient care with the highest quality of professionalism and are devoted to improving the quality of care to patients worldwide through the development of innovative techniques, devices and medications.

Our Research Team

Richard S. Hoffman, MD, a native of south Florida, completed his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He received his medical degree and completed his ophthalmology residency at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Dr. Hoffman is an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Hoffman has designed new surgical instruments for anterior segment surgery and has been an investigator for multiple FDA clinical trials over the years.

Annette Chang Sims, MD Born in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Sims grew up in South Florida, where she first developed her life-long love of outdoor recreation. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree with General Honors from the University of Chicago in 1997. Returning to the Sunshine State, Dr. Sims graduated from the University of South Florida College of Medicine in 2002 and stayed on to complete an Internship in Internal Medicine, Residency in Ophthalmology and Fellowship in Glaucoma.

Dr. Sims joined the practice of Drs. Fine, Hoffman in November of 2010. She brought with her expertise in the diagnosis, medical management and surgical treatment of glaucoma. Dr. Sims performs advanced glaucoma procedures including multiple modalities of laser treatment and surgery. Some of these procedures include diode laser trabeculoplasty, selective laser trabeculoplasty, trabeculectomy, Ahmed and Baerveldt shunt implantation, ExPress mini shunt implantation, canaloplasty, endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation and trans-scleral cyclophotocoagulation. Dr. Sims has a strong interest in innovation and is always looking forward to new research opportunities and investigating potentially sight-saving devices at the forefront of glaucoma surgical management.

Our Study Coordinators are certified ophthalmic assistants (COAs), technicians (COTs), and technologists (COMTs) who are highly qualified and trained in clinical research conduct, ethics and compliance.

Our Current Studies

Our doctors participate in FDA clinical investigations involving the latest advancements for LASIK laser vision correction, presbyopia-correcting intraocular lens (IOL) implants, cataracts, glaucoma and more.

Drs. Hoffman and Sims are currently investigators for the following clinical trials:

Sponsored by CORD: "A Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Safety and Effectiveness of Model SC9 Silicone IOL for the Visual Correction of Aphakia Secondary to the Removal of a Cataractous Lens in Adult Patients With or Without Presbyopia"

This study is to evaluate the Model SC9 Intraocular Lens for the improvement of near and intermediate vision when compared to a legally marketed monofocal intraocular lens.

Click here for more information on this study.

Sponsored by Allergan: "The Efficacy and Safety of Bimatoprost SR in Patients with Open Angle Glaucoma or Ocular Hypertension."

This study evaluates the intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering efficacy and safety of 2 dose strengths of Bimatoprost SR in patients with open-angle glaucoma (OAG) or ocular hypertension (OHT) after initial and repeated administrations.

About Clinical Trials

Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. The following frequently asked questions provide detailed information about clinical trials. After identifying some trial options, the next step is to contact the study research staff and ask questions about specific trials.

Although there are many definitions of clinical trials, they are generally considered to be biomedical or health-related research studies in human beings that follow a pre-defined protocol.

A protocol is a study plan on which all clinical trials are based. The plan is carefully designed to safeguard the health of the participants as well as answer specific research questions. A protocol describes what types of people may participate in the trial; the schedule of tests, procedures, medications, and dosages; and the length of the study. While in a clinical trial, participants following a protocol are seen regularly by the research staff to monitor their health and to determine the safety and effectiveness of their treatment.

Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.

All clinical trials have guidelines about who can participate. Before joining a clinical trial, a participant must qualify for the study. It is important to note that inclusion and exclusion criteria are not used to reject people personally. The criteria help ensure that researchers will be able to answer the questions they plan to study.

The clinical trial process depends on the kind of trial being conducted. The clinical trial team includes doctors and nurses or technicians who check the health of the participant at the beginning of the trial, give specific instructions for participating in the trial, and monitor the participant carefully during the trial.

Informed consent is the process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. It is also a continuing process throughout the study to provide information for participants. To help someone decide whether or not to participate, the study team members involved in the trial explain the details of the study to the participant and provide an informed consent document that includes details about the study, such as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and key contacts. Risks and potential benefits are explained in the informed consent document. The participant then decides whether or not to sign the document. Informed consent is not a contract, and the participant may withdraw from the trial at any time.

The ethical and legal codes that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials. In addition, most clinical research is federally regulated with built in safeguards to protect the participants. The trial follows a carefully controlled protocol, a study plan which details what researchers will do in the study. As a clinical trial progresses, researchers report the results of the trial at scientific meetings, to medical journals, and to various government agencies. Individual participants' names will remain secret and will not be mentioned in these reports.

A committee of physicians, statisticians, researchers, community advocates, and others that ensures that a clinical trial is ethical and that the rights of study participants are protected. All clinical trials in the U.S. must be approved by an IRB before they begin.

Yes. A participant can leave a clinical trial, at any time. When withdrawing from the trial, the participant should let the research team know about it, and the reasons for leaving the study.

A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials, experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to assess the experimental treatment's effectiveness.

A control is the standard by which experimental observations are evaluated. In many clinical trials, one group of patients will be given an experimental drug or treatment, while the control group is given either a standard treatment for the illness or a placebo.

Clinical trials are conducted in phases. The trials at each phase have a different purpose and help scientists answer different questions:

Phase I: Researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people (20-80) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects.

Phase II: The experimental study drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people (100-300) to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety.

Phase III: The experimental study drug or treatment is given to large groups of people (1,000-3,000) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the experimental drug or treatment to be used safely.

Phase IV: Post marketing studies delineate additional information including the drug's risks, benefits, and optimal use.

A clinical trial design in which neither the participating individuals nor the study staff knows which participants are receiving the experimental treatment and which are receiving a placebo (or another therapy).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency responsible for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of all drugs, biologics, vaccines, and medical devices.

A specially selected physician who conducts the clinical research trial at the study site.

A specially trained nurse or technician who supports the investigator by performing study assessments and managing data collection for the study.