Recent advances have driven the development of stem cell-derived, self-organizing, three-dimensional miniature organs, termed organoids, which mimic different eye tissues including the retina, cornea, and lens. Organoids and engineered microfluidic organ-on-chips (organ chips) are transformative technologies that show promise in simulating the architectural and functional complexity of native organs. Accordingly, they enable exploration of facets of human disease and development not accurately recapitulated by animal models. Together, these technologies will increase our understanding of the basic physiology of different eye structures, enable us to interrogate unknown aspects of ophthalmic disease pathogenesis, and serve as clinically-relevant surrogates for the evaluation of ocular therapeutics. Both the burden and prevalence of monogenic and multifactorial ophthalmic diseases, which can cause visual impairment or blindness, in the human population warrants a paradigm shift towards organoids and organ chips that can provide sensitive, quantitative, and scalable phenotypic assays. In this article, we review the current situation of organoids and organ chips in ophthalmology and discuss how they can be leveraged for translational applications.
Keywords: Cornea; Eye; Lacrimal gland; Lens; Microfluidics; Ophthalmology; Organ chip; Organ-on-a-chip; Organoid; Retina.
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