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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Systemic therapies for inflammatory eye disease: Past, Present and Future

Alastair K Denniston1* and Andrew D Dick23

Author Affiliations

1 Ophthalmology Department, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2WB, UK

2 Faculty Medicine and Dentistry Ophthalmology, University of Bristol, Bristol Eye Hospital, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol, BS1 2LX, UK

3 National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Centre, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, UK

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BMC Ophthalmology 2013, 13:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-13-18

Published: 24 April 2013


In this review we consider the current evidence base for treatments in inflammatory eye disease, and in particular uveitis, from a historical perspective. We consider the challenges that have traditionally hindered progress in inflammatory eye disease including small target populations, heterogeneous disease groups, poorly defined phenotypes, diagnostic inconsistency, subjective outcome measures, specific issues around visual acuity as an outcome measure and low commercial interest. Strategies to address these issues are considered de novo and with reference to recent advances outside of ophthalmology and highlight the promise for ocular inflammation. Progress in these specialties has included the development of thriving clinical-trial cultures, public-private partnerships, pathogenetic- and structure-led drug design, efficient drug development pipelines, and biomarker-defined treatment protocols enabling personalization of medicine. Although there are challenges, these are exciting opportunities as we seek to develop safe and effective treatments for patients with inflammatory eye disease.