Nanomedicine for Eye Diseases

Eye-related diseases are a major health concern worldwide that significantly impacts the afflicted individuals and their families. Neovascular and neurodegenerative retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and retinitis pigmentosa are the leading cause of vision impairment both in developed and developing countries. The incidence of topical and corneal infections have increased in recent years owing to an increased number of corneal surgeries for cataracts, glaucoma and corneal transplantations, and the increased use of contact lenses.

Recent developments in nanomedicine-based therapeutic approaches may bring significant benefits to address the leading causes of blindness associated with cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Nanoparticle drug-delivery systems can prolong medication residence time on the corneal surface, enhancing the absorption and effectiveness of medications. Improving drug-delivery can decrease the frequency of injections, lead to reduced side effects, and improve patient compliance. Various strategies, such as the use of nanoparticles, dendrimer-based platforms, and drug-eluting sutures for corneal surgery are highlighted in our Center’s efforts in this area.

These efforts have been made possible in part by generous gifts from the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, the Kogod Foundation, and the Altsheler-Durell Foundation.


Areas of focus:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa
  • Glaucoma
  • Corneal transplant rejection
  • Uveitis
  • Dry eye
  • Ocular surgeries


Selected publications

Iwase T, Fu J, Yoshida T, Muramatsu D, Miki A, Hashida N, Lu L, Oveson B, Lima e Silva R, Seidel C, Yang M, Connelly S, Shen J, Han B, Wu M, Semenza GL, Hanes J, Campochiaro PA. (2013) Sustained delivery of a HIF-1 antagonist for ocular neovascularization, J Control Release, 172(3):625-33.

Welsbie DS, Yang Z, Ge Y, Mitchell KL, Zhou X, Martin SE, Berlinicke CA, Hackler L, Fuller J, Fu J, Cao LH, Han B, Auld D, Xue T, Hirai SI, Germain L, Simard-Bisson C, Blouin R, Nguyen JV, Davis CO, Enke RA, Boye SL, Merbs SL, Marsh-Armstrong N, Hauswirth WW, DiAntonio A, Nickells RW, Inglese J, Hanes J, Yau KW, Quigley HA, Zack DJ. (2013) Functional genomic screening identifies dual leucine zipper kinase as a key mediator of retinal ganglion cell death, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 110: 4045-50.

Pan Q, Xu Q, Boylan NJ, Lamb NW, Emmert G, Yang JC, Tang L, Heflin T, Alwadani S, Eberhardt CG, Stark WJ, Hanes J. (2015) Corticosteroid-loaded biodegradable nanoparticles for prevention of corneal allograft rejection in rats, J Control Release, 201:32-40.

Iezzi R, Guru BR, Glybina IV, Mishra MK, Kennedy A, Kannan RM. (2012) Dendrimer-based targeted intravitreal therapy for sustained attenuation of neuroinflammation in retinal degeneration. Biomaterials, 33(3): 979-88.