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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 351804, 12 pages
Review Article

Vitreous Substitutes: The Present and the Future

1Department of Surgical and Morphological Sciences, Section of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Insubria, Via Guicciardini 9, 21100 Varese, Italy
2Endocrine Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Insubria, 21100 Varese, Italy
3Eye Clinic, Multidisciplinary Department of Medical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, Second University of Naples, 80121 Naples, Italy
4Department of Ophthalmology, Polytechnic University of Ancona, 60121 Ancona, Italy
5Genetic Laboratory, Department of Surgical and Morphological Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Insubria, 21100 Varese, Italy

Received 19 February 2014; Revised 15 April 2014; Accepted 16 April 2014; Published 4 May 2014

Academic Editor: Mario R. Romano

Copyright © 2014 Simone Donati et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Vitreoretinal surgery has advanced in numerous directions during recent years. The removal of the vitreous body is one of the main characteristics of this surgical procedure. Several molecules have been tested in the past to fill the vitreous cavity and to mimic its functions. We here review the currently available vitreous substitutes, focusing on their molecular properties and functions, together with their adverse effects. Afterwards we describe the characteristics of the ideal vitreous substitute. The challenges facing every ophthalmology researcher are to reach a long-term intraocular permanence of vitreous substitute with total inertness of the molecule injected and the control of inflammatory reactions. We report new polymers with gelification characteristics and smart hydrogels representing the future of vitreoretinal surgery. Finally, we describe the current studies on vitreous regeneration and cell cultures to create new intraocular gels with optimal biocompatibility and rheological properties.