Biodegradable microspheres for vitreoretinal drug delivery

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2001 Oct 31;52(1):5-16. doi: 10.1016/s0169-409x(01)00200-9.


Vitreoretinal disorders are one of the major causes of blindness in the developed world. Treatments of these pathologies often include repeated intravitreous injections to achieve intraocular drug levels within the therapeutical range. However, the risks of complications increase with the frequency of intravitreous injections. Controlled drug delivery formulations, offer an excellent alternative to multiple administrations. These systems are capable of delivering drugs over longer time periods than conventional formulations. Currently, several kinds of polymer devices for drug delivery to the posterior segment of the eye are under clinical use, or under investigation. Among these devices, microparticulates, such as microspheres, provide an alternative to multiple injections to obtain sustained release of the drug with a single administration. Among the polymers used to make the injectable microparticles, the most commonly used are poly(lactic acid), poly(glycolic acid) and copolymers of lactic and glycolic acids because they are biocompatible and degrade to metabolic products that are easily eliminated from the body. This article reviews the literature of biodegradable polymeric microspheres loaded with drugs, that have been investigated for delivery by intravitreous injection to treat diverse vitreoretinal diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Eye Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Microspheres
  • Polyesters
  • Polyglycolic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Polyglycolic Acid / metabolism
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polymers / administration & dosage
  • Polymers / metabolism
  • Retinal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Sterilization
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / drug therapy
  • Vitreous Body*


  • Polyesters
  • Polymers
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • poly(lactide)