Swarnalakshmi.M.R, M. Optom

Assistant Professor, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women, Coimbatore, India


This blog discusses how nanotechnology is useful as well as helpful in the ophthalmic industry.


Nanotechnology involves the creation and use of materials, systems, and constructs on the order of 100 nm or less, which are the size of intracellular structures and molecules. The goal of nanomedicine is to provide medical benefit by using engineered nanodevices and nanostructures that operate massively in parallel at the single-cell level to monitor, control, construct, repair, defend, and improve human biological systems at the molecular level. By fabricating nano systems, nanotechnology has proven to be a potent and effective tool for the treatment and diagnosis of eye diseases.(1) Nanotechnology-based imaging and treatment systems for eye disorders such as corneal disease, glaucoma, retina disease, and choroid disease.(2) Other limitations of nanotechnology include higher costs and a complicated development process


Table 1: Generations of nanotechnology

Generations Year Nanosystems/Structures Example
1st Generation 2001 Passive nanostructures Coatings and particles of nano size
2nd Generation 2005 Passive nanostructures Coatings and particles of nano size
3rd Generation 2010 Integrated nano systems 3D networking, Robotics etc.
4th Generation 2015-2020 Molecular nano systems Atomic design, emerging functions

Ophthalmic Applications in Nanotechnology(4)

Table 2: Ophthalmic Applications In nanotechnology

Nanotechnology Ophthalmic Application
Nano shells
  • ⮚ Drug delivery,
  • ⮚ ocular dispositive against microbe colonization
  • ⮚ Contact lens cases
  • ⮚ Intraocular lenses
  • ⮚ Carbon nanotubes for ocular prosthesis
  • ⮚ Drug delivery
  • ⮚ Nano recovers
  • ⮚ Ophthalmic and contact lenses
  • ⮚ Artificial retinas
  • ⮚ Biomimetic model of outer plexiform layer
  • ⮚ Neuro-ophthalmology
  • ⮚ Replace tissues
  • ⮚ Stimulate retina´s cells
  • ⮚ Ocular diseases and therapeutic (theragnosis)
Nanocarriers, Nano micelles
  • ⮚ Diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of various diseases
  • ⮚ Enhance absorption of the ophthalmic drugs into a selected tissue, control the pharmacokinetic and drug tissue distribution profile and improve the intracellular penetration

Ocular nanomedicine for various biomedical uses in ophthalmology

Nano capsules, nanohydrogels, nanoliposomes, nano micelles, niosomes, cubosomes, and nanoparticles (NPs) are some of the most prevalent nanotechnology-based ocular delivery systems that provide certain advantages over existing diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. (5)

Current ocular drug delivery systems

Recent achievements in nano-based technologies for ocular diagnosis and treatment (5)

  • Systemic intravenous and oral administration: Targeted diseases are Endophthalmitis, uveitis, retinitis (acute retinal necrosis), cytomegalovirus retinitis, metastasis, malignancies, episcleritis, scleritis.
  • Topical usage: Targeted diseases are Anterior uveitis, conjunctivitis, keratitis, blepharitis, scleritis, episcleritis.
  • Intravitreal injection: Targeted diseases are AMD, posterior uveitis, branched retinal vein occlusion, central retinal vein occlusion, diabetic macular oedema, cystoid macular oedema, uveitic macular oedema, cytomegalovirus retinitis, endophthalmitis.
  • Periocular implants: Targeted diseases are AMD and uveitis.
  • Subconjunctival: Targeted diseases are Glaucoma, uveitis, AMD, corneal ulcer.
  • Suprachoroidal: Targeted diseases are Diabetic macular oedema, macular degeneration, non-infectious uveitis, and ocular oncology.
  • Sub-Tenon: Targeted diseases are Chronic posterior uveitis, cystoid macular oedema, diabetic macular oedema.


The primary advantage of nanomedicine over conventional medications is its safety and bioavailability. Nanoparticles can more efficiently penetrate and encapsulate practically all types of medicines. The advancement of nanomedicine would result in a paradigm shift that would change the whole healthcare industry in the following years. Nano-ophthalmology is a developing discipline that offers hope in ocular therapy and therapies.



  1. Zarbin MA, Montemagno C, Leary JF, Ritch R. Nanotechnology in ophthalmology. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2010 Oct 1;45(5):457-76.
  2. Weng Y, Liu J, Jin S, Guo W, Liang X, Hu Z. Nanotechnology-based strategies for treatment of ocular disease. Acta pharmaceutica sinica B. 2017 May 1;7(3):281-91.
  3. Roco, M.C., 2011. The long view of nanotechnology development: the National Nanotechnology Initiative at 10 years. Journal of Nanoparticle Research13, pp.427-445.
  4. Durán Ospina P. Are nanotechnology and robotics alternatives for therapeutic and theragnostic ophthalmic applications technologies for eye care services?
  5. Afarid M, Mahmoodi S, Baghban R. Recent achievements in nano-based technologies for ocular disease diagnosis and treatment, review, and update. Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 2022 Dec;20(1):1-36.