Zebrafish--on the move towards ophthalmological research

Eye (Lond). 2014 Apr;28(4):367-80. doi: 10.1038/eye.2014.19. Epub 2014 Feb 7.


Millions of people are affected by visual impairment and blindness globally, and the prevalence of vision loss is likely to increase as we are living longer. However, many ocular diseases remain poorly controlled due to lack of proper understanding of the pathogenesis and the corresponding lack of effective therapies. Consequently, there is a major need for animal models that closely mirror the human eye pathology and at the same time allow higher-throughput drug screening approaches. In this context, zebrafish as an animal model organism not only address these needs but can in many respects reflect the human situation better than the current rodent models. Over the past decade, zebrafish have become an established model to study a variety of human diseases and are more recently becoming a valuable tool for the study of human ophthalmological disorders. Many human ocular diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration have already been modelled in zebrafish. In addition, zebrafish have become an attractive model for pre-clinical drug toxicity testing and are now increasingly used by scientists worldwide for the discovery of novel treatment approaches. This review presents the advantages and uses of zebrafish for ophthalmological research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Eye Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Zebrafish* / physiology