Hydrogel-Based Ocular Drug Delivery Systems: Emerging Fabrication Strategies, Applications, and Bench-To-Bedside Manufacturing Considerations


The physiological barriers of the eye pose challenges to the delivery of the array of therapeutics for ocular diseases. Hydrogels have been widely explored for medical applications and introduce possible solutions to overcoming the medication challenges of the ocular environment. While the innovations in drug encapsulation and release mechanisms, biocompatibility, and treatment duration have become highly sophisticated, the challenge of widespread application of hydrogel formulations in the clinic is still apparent. This article reviews the latest hydrogel formulations and their associated chemistries for use in ocular therapies, spanning from external anterior to internal posterior regions of the eye in order to evaluate the state of recent research. This article discusses the utility of hydrogels in soft contact lens, wound dressings, intraocular lens, vitreous substitutes, vitreous drug release hydrogels, and cell-based therapies for regeneration. Additional focus is placed on the pre-formulation, formulation, and manufacturing considerations of the hydrogels based on individual components (polymer chains, linkers, and therapeutics), final hydrogel product, and required preparations for clinical/commercial applications, respectively.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)


This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01EY024072).

Keywords and Phrases

Drug delivery; Hydrogel; Injectable; Sterilization; Topical

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0168-3659; 1873-4995

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

28 Jul 2019

PubMed ID