Toward a better understanding of human eye disease insights from the zebrafish, Danio rerio

Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2011;100:287-330. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384878-9.00007-8.


Visual impairment and blindness is widespread across the human population, and the development of therapies for ocular pathologies is of high priority. The zebrafish represents a valuable model organism for studying human ocular disease; it is utilized in eye research to understand underlying developmental processes, to identify potential causative genes for human disorders, and to develop therapies. Zebrafish eyes are similar in morphology, physiology, gene expression, and function to human eyes. Furthermore, zebrafish are highly amenable to laboratory research. This review outlines the use of zebrafish as a model for human ocular diseases such as colobomas, glaucoma, cataracts, photoreceptor degeneration, as well as dystrophies of the cornea and retinal pigmented epithelium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Eye Segment / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Eye Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Posterior Eye Segment / pathology
  • Zebrafish / physiology*