Most diseases that cause catastrophic loss of vision do so as a result of abnormal angiogenesis and wound healing, often in response to tissue ischemia or inflammation. Disruption of the highly ordered tissue architecture in the eye caused by vascular leakage, hemorrhage, and concomitant fibrosis can lead to mechanical disruption of the visual axis and/or biological malfunctioning. An increased understanding of inflammation, wound healing, and angiogenesis has led to the development of drugs effective in modulating these biological processes and, in certain circumstances, the preservation of vision. Unfortunately, such pharmacological interventions often are too little, too late, and progression of vision loss frequently occurs. The recent development of progenitor and/or stem cell technologies holds promise for the treatment of currently incurable ocular diseases.
Schematic representation of the eye and principal types of retinal neovascularization and fibrosis/gliosis.