Wills Eye Hospital Institutional Review Board (IRB)


The Wills Eye Hospital Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the committee established to review and approve research involving human subjects. The purpose of the Board is to ensure that the people who volunteer to be research participants are protected and their welfare looked after in accordance with all federal regulations, institutional requirements, and professional and ethical guidelines.

Beginning in the early 1960s, there has been a continuing evolution in the system used to protect human research subjects. In 1974, the National Research Act required that institutions engaged in clinical research establish a committee, called the IRB, to protect research subjects. Somewhat later, in 1981, similar regulations were published by the Food and Drug Administration. More recently, the "Common Rule" - the specific regulation concerning human research practices, which 17 United States federal agencies hold in common, underwent revision in 2018 and went into effect in 2019. These changes address the evolving nature of research, its broader scope and setting, the emergence of genetic sciences and growth of computing abilities.

The IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove all research activity that falls within its scope. The IRB Office works closely with Principal Investigators, study coordinators, and their research teams to provide ethical and regulatory guidance of their studies as well as to provide assistance with the practical considerations of the application and review process. The full committee meets monthly and on an as-needed basis to review high-risk drug and device studies, prospective clinical trials, and other proposals requiring careful ethical consideration.

The IRB Committee brings together experts from various subspecialties of ophthalmology and non-medical professionals, from within and outside of Wills, to ensure a diverse and varied body of reviewers representing a number of perspectives. Members of the public serve as committee members, ensuring that there is always a voice of the community present. Essential to the board are the non-physician members who ensure that studies are considered from the patient's perspective and that information is presented in an easy to understand format. Together, we strive to offer the highest level of protections for the human participants enrolled in vision research at Wills.

Wills IRB is registered with the Office of Human Research Protection with a Federal Wide Assurance (FWA).



IRB Office
840 Walnut Street, Suite 1534
Philadelphia, PA 19107


For inquiries, please contact:

Ann Larsen, CIP
IRB Administrator
(215) 440-3155

Wills IRB conducts all its activities online through Cayuse. Contact the IRB to obtain training and register as a new user.