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Keywords:

  • anti-angiogenic;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • antioxidant;
  • flavonoids;
  • ocular drug delivery

Abstract

Objectives  Flavonoids are a common group of plant polyphenols that give colour and flavour to fruits and vegetables. In recent years, flavonoids have gained importance in the pharmaceutical field through their beneficial effects on human health and are widely available as nutritional supplements. Several pharmacological actions of the bioflavonoids may be useful in the prevention or treatment of ocular diseases responsible for vision loss such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and cataract. This review aims to summarize the potential therapeutic applications of various bioflavonoids in different ocular diseases and also discusses delivery of these agents to the ocular tissues.

Key findings  It is apparent that the flavonoids are capable of acting on various mechanisms or aetiological factors responsible for the development of different sight threatening ocular diseases. From a drug delivery perspective, ocular bioavailability depends on the physicochemical and biopharmaceutical characteristics of the selected flavonoids and very importantly the route of administration.

Summary  The potential therapeutic applications of various bioflavonoids in ocular diseases is reviewed and the delivery of these agents to the ocular tissues is discussed. Whereas oral administration of bioflavonoids may demonstrate some pharmacological activity in the outer sections of the posterior ocular segment, protection of the retinal ganglionic cells in vivo may be limited by this delivery route. Systemic or local administration of these agents may yield much higher and effective concentrations of the parent bioflavonoids in the ocular tissues and at much lower doses.