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Could real-world data replace evidence from clinical trials in surgical retinal conditions?
  1. Rodrigo Anguita,
  2. David Charteris
  1. Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor David Charteris, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London EC1V 2PD, UK; d.charteris{at}

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Vitreoretinal surgeons have a range of procedures available to treat primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RD) and decisions on which approach to take relate to the training and skill set of the individual surgeon and their assessment of the published literature. Randomised controlled trials (RCT) are uncommon in the surgical management of RD and most published work is on smaller, often retrospective, studies or analyses of centralised databases both of which have inherent limitations. RCT remain the gold standard for evaluating treatments and providing the highest level evidence-based medicine in clinical research; however, they are expensive, resource intensive and time-consuming.1 2 Study design, selection of the study population, compliance and, in relation to vitreoretinal surgery, the pre-existing surgical skill set and preferences of participating surgeons are of critical importance to the eventual relevance of the results of RCTs to clinical practice and the failure to adequately plan and implement these elements can lead to limitations in interpreting the data and drawing valid conclusions.1

Real-world data studies are fundamental to monitor postmarked safety and adverse events and to make regulatory decisions. They can also support clinical trials and generate observational studies to inform new treatment approaches.3 The statistical methods used in the analysis of real-world data should be considered when interpreting results. Propensity score matching is a …

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  • Contributors RA and DC conceived and designed the editorial. RA and DC drafted the manuscript. RA and DC made critical revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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