Treatments for corneal neovascularization: a review

Cornea. 2011 Aug;30(8):927-38. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318201405a.


Corneal neovascularization (CNV) may be a physiological response to various stimuli, but a chronic and persistent upregulation of neoangiogenesis can result in pathological CNV. Pathological blood vessels are immature and lack structural integrity, predisposing the cornea to lipid exudation, inflammation, and scarring. CNV can therefore become a potentially blinding condition. In this review, we frame CNV in an epidemiological perspective, consider risk factors for CNV, provide an overview of CNV pathogenesis, and consider the impact of CNV on corneal transplantation. We consider treatments that are of largely historical interest, before reviewing contemporary medical and surgical treatments. Within medical treatments, we report on steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, antivascular endothelial growth factor agents, and cyclosporine. Within surgical treatments, we report on the use of lasers, photodynamic therapy, superficial keratectomy, and diathermy/cautery-based treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Corneal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Corneal Neovascularization / therapy*
  • Corneal Transplantation
  • Diathermy
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy
  • Photochemotherapy
  • Risk Factors


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids