SILK clinical research can be divided into six areas:
The main area of interest is glaucoma medications, dry eye research and assessing the local and systemic negative effects of medications. At the FinnMedi clinical research centre research has been conducted, for example, on the safety of medications intended for the treatment of neurological diseases and diabetes. The research unit has the capability to conduct Phase 1-4 studies in the development of medications.
The aim of the SILK research in retinal imaging has been to develop analytics for retinal imaging and their exploitation in the diagnostics of both eye diseases and systemic diseases and in the monitoring of the disease. Research has been conducted in collaboration with Lappeenranta University of Technology and the University of Eastern Finland at Joensuu in the development of an automatic retinal image analysis program based on image recognition. Analysis of the retinal vasculature has been developed and used in the diagnostics of systemic diseases, especially for patients suffering from blood pressure diseases, diabetes and renal diseases. Retinal imaging has also been utilized in clinical and epidemiological research. The Savitaipale study is an ongoing epidemiological study. The SILK research unit has at its disposal a digital retinal camera, OCT (optical coherence tomography) and confocal laser ophthalmoscope for imaging of the retina and anterior segment of the eye.
The efficacy and safety of new methods in refractive surgery, such as microkeratomy and femtosecond lasers are ascertained in collaboration with the researchers of the Mehilainen hospital, refractive surgery unit. For corneal imaging the unit has two confocal microscopes, anterior segment OCT, Scheinpflug camera, Wavefront analysis for refractive error and corneal topography.
In SILK research co-operation, implants based on intelligent materials for the treatment of eye diseases or applicable in eye disease diagnostics are under development, among them artificial lenses used in cataract operations to change refractive power, medication implants to promote wound healing in glaucoma surgery and cell factory implants regulating the production of medication in the treatment of corneal diseases.
The results of eye imaging research are utilized in the development of new telemedicine applications to improve the efficiency of health care, especially for use as a tool in improving cooperation between primary health care and specialized health care.
For clinical studies the SILK research centre has collected research methods appropriate for the many-sided analysis of vision to image the various subareas of the sense of sight such as quality of life measures of the sensitivity to contrast, colour vision and sight. The research centre has moreover invested effort in factors pertaining to the development and treatment of amblyopia (functionally poor sight).