Clinical Optical Research Lab


These are a few of our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 812-855-5500 or at

What will I have to do during a research study?
Every study is a little bit different, but typically there are a few similar elements in every study. Most studies will ask you to read letters off a chart, and may ask you to rate how well you feel like you can see the letters. They may also ask questions about how your eyes feel (ie dry, irritated, aware of a contact lens etc). You may also receive questionnaires to complete throughout the day asking similar questions. Often during a study, we will look at the health of your eye under a high powered microscope and may take a video recording of this. In some studies we will insert contact lenses into your eyes for you to wear, whereas other times you may simply look through some lenses in front of your eyes. Overall, most elements of the research studies are similar to what is done during a routine eye examination.

Will I get paid for being in a research study?
In some of the studies, you will be monetarily compensated for your time at the research center, whereas in others you may simply receive a token of our appreciation. The specific details of each study will be explained before you enroll in the study.

Some payment comes in the form of a check mailed to your home at the completion of the study, whereas other times it is a gift card given to you at your study visit, and again, the researcher will explain this to you before the study begins.

Who will be doing the studies?
Dr. Kollbaum and Dr. Meyer will be overseeing every study at CORL. (Meet them on the Investigators page). We have may other fabulous research assistants who also help out in the lab and are well trained and can answer your questions as well as help with the studies.

It seems like you do a lot of research on contact lenses, do I need to wear contact lenses to participate in research?
You do not necessarily need to be a contact lens wearer to participate in research at CORL. Many of our studies do involve contact lenses, but not always. In some cases, we look for established contact lens wearers, whereas other times we look for people who do not currently wear contact lenses, but are interested in trying them.

Are the contact lenses or other products tested in your lab FDA approved?
All contact lenses will be of an FDA approved material and worn and cared for in an approved manner. Although any contact lens wear incurs a slight risk of an eye infection, eye irritation, or scratches to the eye, the lenses worn in our studies are similar to other contact lenses generally prescribed and worn.

Will my eyes be dilated during the research study?
Again, this depends on the particular study. Some studies will need your pupils dilated in order to gather more information about your eye. The specific details of each study will be explained before you enroll in the study.

Dilation includes putting some drops in your eyes that causes the pupil to enlarge. With your pupil being larger, it allows more light to enter your eye. This allows us to see more of the retina inside of your eye, or gather more information about how light enters your eye. Dilation typically lasts 4-6 hours, and then your pupils will return to normal size. While your pupils are dilated, you may be light sensitive.

If I participate in a research study, do I still need a routine eye examination?
Yes, routine eye examinations are a vital part of research, and we request that you have your eye health checked at least every two years. In our studies we do not necessarily check all of the elements of your eye health (ie eye pressure checks, or side vision screenings) so it is important to follow up with your regular optometrist for complete eye exams to keep your eyes healthy so you can continue to participate in research studies.

If you are in need of a complete eye examination, feel free to visit the IU School of Optometry’s Atwater Eye Care Center.

Can you renew my contact lens prescription?
Regretfully, we are unable to release an updated contact lens prescription following research study participation. Indiana State law dictates that a contact lens prescription is valid for one year (IC 16-39), and that renewal of this prescription requires a “complete eye examination”, including an evaluation of the contact lenses and ocular health by a licensed eye care professional (IC 25-24). Although during your research participation we do evaluate many aspects of your eyes and their health, we do not perform most of the aspects required for a complete eye exam (see above question). Additionally, during your research study participation we may briefly evaluate your current contact lens performance, but are not permitted to make assessments or optimizations of them that would impact your prescription, and/or care with your eye care provider.

Additionally, as Indiana University offers the service to provide complete eye exams, the University compliance office will not allow us to provide this service as compensation for research study participation, unless special arrangements have been made in advance with the University during the University’s approval process of the study. Similarly, the compliance office will not typically allow us to provide product (e.g. contact lenses) as compensation for research study participation, but are typically restricted to monetary benefits (e.g. $40/hour).

Is your research regulated?
Yes, our studies all go through the Institutional Review Board through the IU Human Subjects Office. If you have any questions about this process, do not hesitate to contact the lab (812-855-5500) or the IU Human Subjects Office (800-696-2949).

How long will the study take?
This depends on the particular study, and will be explained in detail before you enroll in the study. Some studies require three one-hour visits separated by 2 hours all in one day, whereas others you have two one hour visits a week apart, and many have varying visit schedules. We make every effort to have appointment times that are convenient (ie early morning or lunchtime appointments) and stick to our schedule.

What happens if I have a problem during a study?
If you have a problem during a study during regular business hours (8am-5pm), please contact the lab at 812-855-5500.

If you have an eye emergency that is after business hours, you may call the doctor on call with the IU School of Optometry at 812-345-7443, and let them know you are participating in a study with Dr. Kollbaum and Dr. Meyer, and they will get in contact with us.

Do I get to keep the contact lenses or tested products?
Unfortunately, no you do not typically get to keep any of the lenses or products from the study. Frequently, the study sponsor likes the lenses returned to them so they can evaluate them after use. In addition, the Indiana University compliance office will not typically allow us to provide product (e.g. contact lenses) as compensation for research study participation, but are typically restricted to monetary benefits (e.g. $40/hour).

Contact Information:
Clinical Optics Research Lab
Indiana University School of Optometry
800 E. Atwater Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405

Email us:
Call us: 812-855-5500