Oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species: a review of their role in ocular disease

Clin Sci (Lond). 2017 Dec 4;131(24):2865-2883. doi: 10.1042/CS20171246. Print 2017 Dec 15.


For many years, oxidative stress arising from the ubiquitous production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of various eye diseases. While emerging research has provided some evidence of the important physiological role of ROS in normal cell function, disease may arise where the concentration of ROS exceeds and overwhelms the body's natural defence against them. Additionally, ROS may induce genomic aberrations which affect cellular homoeostasis and may result in disease. This literature review examines the current evidence for the role of oxidative stress in important ocular diseases with a view to identifying potential therapeutic targets for future study. The need is particularly pressing in developing treatments for conditions which remain notoriously difficult to treat, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Keywords: diabetic retinopathy; glaucoma; ocular disease; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; uveitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Eye / drug effects
  • Eye / metabolism*
  • Eye / pathology
  • Eye Diseases / drug therapy
  • Eye Diseases / metabolism*
  • Eye Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress* / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species