An increasing number of people worldwide are affected by eye diseases, eventually leading to visual impairment or complete blindness. Conventional treatment involves the use of eye drops. However, these formulations often confer low ocular bioavailability and frequent dosing is required. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop more effective drug delivery systems to tackle the current limitations. Hydrogels are multifunctional ophthalmic drug delivery systems capable of extending drug residence time and sustaining release of drugs. In this review, common ocular diseases and corresponding therapeutic drugs are briefly introduced. In addition, various types of hydrogels reported for ophthalmic drug delivery, including in-situ gelling hydrogels, contact lenses, low molecular weight supramolecular hydrogels, cyclodextrin/poly (ethylene glycol)-based supramolecular hydrogels and hydrogel-forming microneedles, are summarized. Besides, marketed hydrogel-based opthalmic formulations and clinical trials are also highlighted. Finally, critical considerations regarding clinical translation of biologics-loaded hydrogels are discussed.
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