Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Center for Minimally Invasive Therapeutics (C-MIT), California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Topical instillation of eye drops remains the most common and easiest route of ocular drug administration, representing the treatment of choice for many ocular diseases. Nevertheless, low ocular bioavailability of topically applied drug molecules can considerably limit their efficacy. Over the last several decades, numerous drug delivery systems (DDS) have been developed in order to improve drug bioavailability on the ocular surfaces. This review systematically covers the most recent advances of DDS applicable by topical instillation, that have shown better performance in in vivo models compared to standard eye drop formulations. These delivery systems are based on in situ forming gels, nanoparticles and combinations of both. Most of the DDS have been developed using natural or synthetic polymers. Polymers offer many advantageous properties for designing advanced DDS including biocompatibility, gelation properties and/or mucoadhesiveness. However, despite the high number of studies published over the last decade, there are several limitations for clinical translation of DDS. This review article focuses on the recent advances for the development of ocular drug delivery systems. In addtion, the potential challenges for commercialization of new DDS are presented.