Since the discovery of the first microRNA (miRNA) decades ago, studies of miRNA biology have expanded in many biomedical research fields, including eye research. The critical roles of miRNAs in normal development and diseases have made miRNAs useful biomarkers or molecular targets for potential therapeutics. In the eye, ocular neovascularization (NV) is a leading cause of blindness in multiple vascular eye diseases. Current anti-angiogenic therapies, such as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatment, have their limitations, indicating the need for investigating new targets. Recent studies established the roles of various miRNAs in the regulation of pathological ocular NV, suggesting miRNAs as both biomarkers and therapeutic targets in vascular eye diseases. This review summarizes the biogenesis of miRNAs, and their functions in the normal development and diseases of the eye, with a focus on clinical and experimental retinopathies in both human and animal models. Discovery of novel targets involving miRNAs in vascular eye diseases will provide insights for developing new treatments to counter ocular NV.
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