In the twentieth century, a conspicuous lack of effective treatment strategies existed for managing several retinal disorders, including age-related macular degeneration; diabetic retinopathy (DR); retinopathy of prematurity (ROP); retinitis pigmentosa (RP); uveitis, including Behçet's disease; and vitreoretinal lymphoma (VRL). However, in the first decade of this century, advances in biomedicine have provided new treatment strategies in the field of ophthalmology, particularly biologics that target vascular endothelial growth factor or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Furthermore, clinical trials on gene therapy specifically for patients with autosomal recessive or X-linked RP have commenced. The overall survival rates of patients with VRL have improved, owing to earlier diagnoses and better treatment strategies. However, some unresolved problems remain such as primary or secondary non-response to biologics or chemotherapy, and the lack of adequate strategies for treating most RP patients. In this review, we provide an overview of the immunological mechanisms of the eye under normal conditions and in several retinal disorders, including uveitis, DR, ROP, RP, and VRL. In addition, we discuss recent studies that describe the inflammatory responses that occur during the course of these retinal disorders to provide new insights into their diagnosis and treatment.
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