Vascular diseases of the retina such as diabetic retinopathy and vascular occlusions account for a large proportion of visual morbidity and blindness worldwide. The role of vitreous in the pathogenesis of these conditions has been increasingly recognized. Despite advances in the surgical technique of pars plana vitrectomy, the use of intravitreal agents for the lysis of vitreous has received attention, guided largely by promising results from the trials involving patients with non-vascular retinal diseases such as vitreomacular traction. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive summary of the present knowledge on pathophysiologic basis of pharmacologic vitreolysis and its efficacy in vascular diseases of the retina. A review of completed and ongoing clinical trials will be presented, along with insights into future directions of this therapy.
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