Gut microbiome and retinal diseases: An updated review

Urooba Nadeem, Michael Boachie-Mensah, Jason Zhang, Dimitra Skondra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewThe gut microbiome, trillions of microorganisms residing in our digestive tract, is now believed to play a significant role in retinal diseases. Breakthroughs in computational biology and specialized animal models have allowed researchers not only to characterize microbes associated with retinal diseases, but also to provide early insights into the function of the microbiome in relation to biological processes in the retinal microenvironment. This review aims to provide an update on recent advances in the current knowledge on the relationship between the gut microbiome and retinal disorders.Recent findingsRecent work demonstrates distinct gut microbial compositions associated with retinal diseases such as agerelated macular degeneration and retinopathy of prematurity. Currently, it is believed that gut dysbiosis leads to increased gut permeability, elevated circulation of bacterial products, microbial metabolites and inflammatory mediators that result in immune dysregulation at distant anatomic sites including the retina.SummaryEmerging evidence for the gut-retina axis can elucidate previously unknown pathways involved in retinal diseases and also presents an exciting potential therapeutic avenue. Further preclinical and clinical studies are necessary to establish causation and delineate the precise relationship of the gut microbiome with retinal disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • age-related macular degeneration
  • central retinal artery occlusion
  • diabetic retinopathy
  • gut dysbiosis
  • gut microbiome
  • gut-retina axis
  • inflammation
  • inherited retinal dystrophy
  • retina
  • retinopathy of prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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