The Rotterdam Ophthalmic Institute (ROI) coordinates and supports all the scientific research activities of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital. We can build on the large number of highly specialized medical specialists and the extensive patient population of the hospital. We focus on both investigator-initiated research projects and on contract research for pharmaceutical and medical devices companies. Our research activities are done in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations and we strive to continuously improve the quality of our research. With a dedicated team of research professionals and PhD students, we are interested in every topic within and beyond ophthalmology that has the potential to optimize treatment or develop new ones in order to improve ophthalmic health care for our patients.

Scientific research

Our medical specialists provide state-of-the-art ophthalmic care to our patients. Some of our treatments are very specific and are not performed in any other center in The Netherlands. In other cases, a far larger number of patients are treated here compared to other centers. Regardless of the type of care or number of patients, we constantly strive for improvement of our ophthalmic care.
Improvements in current treatments or diagnoses, or the development of new therapies, emerge from research findings. Our patient care is evidence-based. The R.O.I. facilitates these research activities. Whenever new ideas for ophthalmic care arise, we set up a scientific project to develop and evaluate the planned new medical procedure. These projects are often run by PhD students with a clinical or non-clinical background. We aim to include all stakeholders (hospital, medical staff, patients) in the design of these research projects and aim to inform scientists, ophthalmologists and the general public about the findings.

Contract research

New therapies are also developed by pharmaceutical (‘pharma’) and medical technology (‘medtech’) companies. To assist in making these new therapies available to patients, we frequently participate in these highly controlled industry trials. Our clinical research unit is dedicated to contract research and ensures that all activities are done according to applicable rules and regulations. We can rely on the considerable number of ophthalmic (super)specialists at the Rotterdam Eye Hospital, the very large number of patients, the diverse patient population and a wide range of standard and specialized ophthalmic equipment and facilities. We routinely run phase I, II, III and IV clinical trials and frequently include more patients in a study than any other site in The Netherlands.


CRU team

Within the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) of the R.O.I., a  well-trained team is involved in a broad variety of clinical research projects:

  • Research nurse
  • Trial coordinator
  • Research Technical Ophthalmic Assistant
  • Research Orthoptist
  • Clinical trial assistant

The CRU team performs multiple tasks related to clinical research, such as:

  • performance of feasibility assessments for sponsor initiated research projects
  • contract and budget negotiations
  • set up of sponsor and investigator initiated research projects
  • informed consent conversations with the study participants
  • performance of study assessments
  • data entry
  • day-to-day coordination 
  • communication with principal investigators and industry

In addition, a study coordinator of the ROI develops study protocols and takes care of ethical approval procedures and is involved in the data analyses and reporting - including writing scientific manuscripts - of the results.


In recent years, the CRU team has been certified for a large number of ophthalmic study procedures.

  • OCT: Vienna Reading Center (VRC); Fundus Photograph Reading Center University of Wisconsin; Duke Reading Center; GRADE Reading Center Bonn.
  • Fundus photography and Fluorescence angiography (FAG): Duke Reading Center; GRADE Reading Center Bonn; Vienna Reading Center (VRC); Fundus Photograph Reading Center University of Wisconsin.
  • Goldmann perimetry: EMMES Reading Center.
  • ETDRS Refraction and Visual Acuity Testing: training and certification: EMMES, Etonwood, CertiEyed and Toutchstone, ClinicalEdge, Klini Trial and CertiEYED associates.

Patient recruitment capacity

Clinical consultations: approximately 145.000 per year.
Surgeries: approximately 13.500 per year, including 7.500 cataract surgeries.


The R.O.I. has in house facilities for Lab, ECG and Thorax X-ray. Pharmacy and lab in -80° , -20° , +4° and RT storages for study drugs and lab samples are being continuously monitored with the IceSpy system 5.


At the R.O.I. we work with the best ophthalmic equipment, to comply with with the latest clinical and industry standards. We regularly invest in new devices and are involved in the development of some next-generation devices. Our CRU team is continuously trained and certified to ensure optimal results in even the most challenging research projects.

Overview of our equipment


To be part of the forefront in ophthalmologic research,  the R.O.I. collaborates intensively with leading partners worldwide. This goes beyond the field of ophthalmology; other medical specialties are also involved. Therefore our partners and clients include various universities and national and international research institutes, consortia and pharmaceutical companies.

This list provided an overview of partners in long-term projects. This overview is not exhaustive and new partnerships and clients are emerging regularly.