The role of the immune system in conjunctival wound healing after glaucoma surgery

Surv Ophthalmol. Jul-Aug 2000;45(1):49-68. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6257(00)00135-1.


The immune system has a fundamental role in the development and regulation of ocular healing, which plays an important role in the pathogenesis of most blinding diseases. This review discusses the mechanisms of normal wound healing, describing the animal and fetal wound healing models used to provide further insight into normal wound repair. In particular, conjunctival wound repair after glaucoma filtration surgery will be used to illustrate the contributions that the different components of the immune system make to the healing process. The potential role of macrophages, the possible regulatory effect of lymphocytes, and the important role of growth factors and cytokines in the wound healing reaction are discussed. The significance of the immune system in the pathogenesis of aggressive conjunctival scarring is addressed, particularly assessing the predisposing factors, including drugs, age, and ethnicity. The rationale behind the pharmacological agents currently used to modulate the wound healing response and the effects these drugs have on the function of the immune system are described. Finally, potential new therapeutic approaches to regulating the wound healing response are reported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conjunctiva / immunology
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Conjunctiva / surgery*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Filtering Surgery*
  • Glaucoma / immunology
  • Glaucoma / surgery*
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Wound Healing* / drug effects
  • Wound Healing* / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Growth Substances
  • Immunosuppressive Agents