Injectable hydrogels for ophthalmic applications
The demand for effective eye therapies is driving the development of injectable hydrogels as new medical devices for controlled delivery and filling purposes. This article introduces the properties of injectable hydrogels and summarizes their versatile application in the treatment of ophthalmic diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and intraocular cancers. A number of injectable hydrogels are approved by FDA as surgery sealants, tissue adhesives, and are now being investigated as a vitreous humor substitute. Research on hydrogels for drug, factor, nanoparticle, and stem cell delivery is still under pre-clinical investigation or in clinical trials. Although substantial progress has been achieved using injectable hydrogels, some challenging issues must still be overcome before they can be effectively used in medical practice.