Lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) is the most effective treatment of glaucoma, however most of the current available glaucoma drugs target a single molecule. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding RNAs that target a network of molecules. This study aims to investigate the role of miR-21-5p in regulating IOP and the mechanism of function. miR-21-5p mimics was topically applied to C57/BL6 mouse eyes, which significantly increased miR-21-5p expression in the conventional outflow tissue and reduced IOP by a maximum of 17.77% at 24 h after treatment. The conventional outflow facility measured by ex vivo moue eye perfusion of miR-21-5p was significantly increased by 60.14%. Moreover, miR-21-5p overexpression significantly reduced the transendothelial electrical resistance in porcine angular aqueous plexus cells. Transcriptome analysis and further quantification by Western blot and PCR revealed that SMAD7 and FGF18 might be the downstream target of miR-21-5p in regulating aqueous humor outflow. The predicted functional pathways PTEN/eNOS, RhoB/pMLC and TIMP3/MMP9 were significantly altered after miR-21-5p transfection. Dual luciferase assay verified the direct targets of miR-21-5p. In conclusion, miR-21-5p seems to regulate IOP by modulating multiple genes that are associated with aqueous humor outflow, including genes those regulating cell adhesion, cytoskeletal dynamics and extracellular matrix turnover. Thus, miR-21-5p represents a new therapeutic strategy for glaucoma and a viable alternative to existing multidrug regimens.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.