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Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in ophthalmology shows that retinal disease research leads with the highest number of studies

A new bibliometric report on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of ophthalmology has clearly identified that retinal disease had the highest number of RCTs over a duration of almost 60 years (from  1961 to 2019).  In the analysis, there were 540,427 publications in the field of ophthalmology identified in the study, 11,634 (2.15%) of them were categorised as RCTs. The topics within ophthalmology included: Orbital Diseases, Conjunctival Diseases, Corneal Diseases, Eyelid Diseases, Lacrimal Apparatus Diseases, Lens Diseases, Glaucoma, Refractive Errors, Scleral Diseases, Uveal Diseases and Retinal Diseases

Figure 1: The number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for each topic in ophthalmology (published by AlRyalat SA, Abukahel A and Elubous KA. Randomized controlled trials in ophthalmology: a bibliometric study F1000Research 2019, 8:1718.


(This is Copyright: © of AlRyalat SA et al., an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited).


The researchers indicated that ‘Retinal diseases’ is the topic with the highest number of RCTs, with a total of 2,915 trials, followed by ‘glaucoma’, with 2,118 trials, and ‘conjunctival diseases’, with 1,230 trials.  According to the study, “the trial with highest number of citations discussed retinal complications of diabetes mellitus entitled “The Effect of Intensive Treatment of Diabetes on the Development and Progression of Long-Term Complications in Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus”, published in The New England Journal of Medicine”.


Finally, in terms of peer-reviewed journals, the study shows that only around 18% of all ophthalmology RCTs are published in the top 10 ophthalmology journals, with the most RCTs (5.53%) published in Ophthalmology.