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Case study: Taking part in eye health research: Byron’s story

Taking part in eye health research: Byron's story

Oxford’s Byron Alderman, 47, took part in the University of Oxford’s Molecular Pathways of Ocular Inflammatory Disease study into the underlying causes of inflammation in people with uveitis at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Uveitis is a painful eye condition which causes vision loss and can lead to blindness.  Tissue and eye fluid specimens are collected from participants to identify specific cell types and proteins that are present in the eye during periods of inflammation.

Learn more about research and search for studies you can take part in at Be Part of Research.

How did you come to take part in the trial? 

I had just been diagnosed with uveitis for the third time in a period of two years and, before receiving treatment, was asked if I was willing to participate in a trial to support a research team at the hospital to understand the causes and cures of this horrible eye inflammation.

Why did you choose to take part in the trial?

The thought of potentially losing my sight was such a horrible feeling that I was obviously more than happy to participate in a study to help the research team understand the causes and future treatments of uveitis. I thought of it as a very small way to thank the excellent team at Oxford and to help those who will unfortunately find themselves in the same situation I was in.

What was your experience of taking part in the trial?

The trial was very quick and required me to make just one further visit to the hospital. The procedure involved taking a small amount of fluid from my eye which, I admit, sounds scary but in reality was quick and painless. The team was excellent and very appreciative of my help. This was the least I could do, given that the doctors and research staff had saved my eyesight.

What would you say to other people about taking part in research?

I would recommend others to participate in this study. While I don’t fully understand the science of this study, I realise that medicine and medical practice are based on well-planned research. The accumulated efforts of these scientists have made possible the almost magical medicines that, in my case, allowed a short period of taking eyedrops to alleviate an extremely painful eye condition.

Talk to your healthcare professional about taking part in research or search for studies seeking volunteers at Be Part of Research.