Classical methodologies used in ocular pharmacokinetics studies have difficulties to obtain information about topical and intraocular distribution and clearance of drugs and formulations. This is associated with multiple factors related to ophthalmic physiology, as well as the complexity and invasiveness intrinsic to the sampling. Molecular imaging is a new diagnostic discipline for in vivo imaging, which is emerging and spreading rapidly. Recent developments in molecular imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), allow obtaining reliable pharmacokinetic data, which can be translated into improving the permanence of the ophthalmic drugs in its action site, leading to dosage optimisation. They can be used to study either topical or intraocular administration. With these techniques it is possible to obtain real-time visualisation, localisation, characterisation and quantification of the compounds after their administration, all in a reliable, safe and non-invasive way. None of these novel techniques presents simultaneously high sensitivity and specificity, but it is possible to study biological procedures with the information provided when the techniques are combined. With the results obtained, it is possible to assume that molecular imaging techniques are postulated as a resource with great potential for the research and development of new drugs and ophthalmic delivery systems.
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