Ophthalmic disorders represent a rapidly growing disease area that is associated with the ageing population. Their sight is threatened by age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and/or retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Few effective treatments for these disorders are available at present, in part due to lack of effective delivery of therapeutic molecules to the retina. Encapsulated cell technology (ECT) allows the controlled, continuous and long-term administration of protein drugs in the eye, where therapeutic agents are needed, and does not subject the host to the systemic exposure. Furthermore, the implants can be retrieved, providing an added level of safety. Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) has been shown to protect the retina from degeneration in 13 animal models, and ECT-based delivery of CNTF protected photoreceptors in the rcd1 dog model of RP.