ECA Research Studies

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Eye Consultants of Atlanta Has a Long History of Embracing Innovative Technology and Exploring New Ideas.

Our surgeons have participated in vision research studies for years and their contributions led to many of the refractive surgery technologies in use today.

We Are Currently Enrolling for Multiple Studies.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating, here is a sampling of sub-specialty studies recruiting patients:

  • Corneal Transplant
  • Artificial Iris Device
  • Keratoconus
  • Cataracts with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
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Studies Open for Enrollment

Artificial Iris Implants

This study is currently enrolling patients who have lost iris tissue from trauma or hereditary diseases with the presence of a cataract. The implant is placed in the eye at the time of surgical removal of the cataract and may be performed with corneal transplants in eyes that have concurrent corneal damage from trauma or hereditary causes. Data is compiled by the US FDA at various postoperative visits.

ECA Investigators – Stephen Hamilton, MD, Barry Lee, MD

INTACS for Keratoconus

This study analyzes outcomes of patients with keratoconus nearing the time for corneal transplantation. The INTACS implants are placed into the cornea at the time of surgery in an attempt to slow or prevent the need for cornea transplantation. ECA is still taking patients desiring this procedure with keratoconus without the presence of corneal scarring.

ECA Investigators – Stephen Hamilton, MD, Barry Lee, MD, Evan Loft, MD

Intraocular Miniature Telescope (IMT) for Patients with Severe Macular Degeneration and Cataracts

This study is currently enrolling patients for retrospective analysis of results with cataract removal followed by placement of the IMT lens. The study includes patients with retinal scars in the macula from wet macular degeneration who need cataract removal.

ECA Investigator – Stephen Hamilton, MD

Studies in Conjunction with the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta

Elliot Levine, MD, is performing baseline and follow-up ophthalmic exams on patients entering pharmaceutical studies for early Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Robert Halpern, MD, and James Frank, MD, are examiners for retinal function in adult patients with refractory complex partial seizures.

Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome and Dry Eyes

Joseph Christenbury, MD, is conducting a research study for patients with Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome and who have associated dry eye syndrome.

Closed Studies

Ocular Hypertension Study Group (OHTS)

A multi-center study that looked at the outcomes of glaucoma management with medical treatment, OHTS has recently been re-opened by the NEI in order to study past patients in order to perform a 20 year follow-up.

ECA Investigator – Tom Harbin, MD

Cornea Donor Study

This first groundbreaking multi-center study investigated the results of corneal transplants in patients with corneal diseases requiring surgery in the US. The study is now closed and enrolled 1,101 eyes. The study was sponsored by the National Eye Institute and has now produced over 10 publications in various ophthalmology journals.

ECA Investigators – Stephen Hamilton, MD, Barry Lee, MD

Multi-Center Study to Map Genes in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy

A groundbreaking corneal study that investigated the genetics of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). The study is now closed and has confirmed the genetic link with gene identification of the cause of FECD. The study was sponsored by the National Eye Institute and has produced 4 publications in various ophthalmology journals.

ECA Investigators – Stephen Hamilton, MD, Barry Lee, MD

Lipiflow for Treatment of Evaporative Dry Eye and Blepharitis

This study is now closed but the device is now available for treatment of patients with evaporative dry eye and blepharitis with full FDA approval. For more information on treatment, visit or contact Donnie Edwards at 404-351-2220, ext. 1247 or at

ECA Investigator – Barry Lee, MD

Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Eye Study (ACCORD)

The NIH-supported ACCORD eye study found that two specific therapies slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that is the leading cause of vision loss in working-age Americans.

ECA Investigators: Robert Halpern, MD, James Frank, MD

Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS)

COMS was a 3-arm study that included two multicenter randomized clinical trials designed to compare the effectiveness of treatments for medium and large choroidal melanomas.

ECA Investigators: Robert Halpern, MD, James Frank, MD

Cornea Preservation Time Study

This groundbreaking multicenter study investigated the long-term outcomes of partial thickness corneal transplants referred to as Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) in patients with Fuchs corneal dystrophy and bullous keratopathy. Data was collected by the National Eye Institute.

ECA Investigators: Barry Lee, MD, Evan Loft, MD

Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study (AGIS)

The Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study was designed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the long-range outcomes of medical and surgical management in advanced glaucoma. The study used visual function status to compare two intervention sequences in managing the disease.

Memantine Study

This study by Allergan, Inc. examined the safety and efficacy of oral Memantine as a treatment for glaucoma. Although the study showed that the progression of disease was significantly lower in patients receiving the higher dose of Memantine compared to patients receiving the low dose of Memantine, there was no significant benefit compared to patients receiving placebo. While additional analyses are ongoing, Allergan does not believe that they will support an approval of the drug.