The immune system protects organisms against environmental and endogenous pathogens. By complex mechanisms, it regulates the homeostasis of inflammatory processes and tissue repair mechanisms. In the retina, these pathways can result in an irreversible tissue scar, which is related to malfunction and loss of function. In the aging retina, inflammation plays a major role and causes adverse effects. Several ophthalmological diseases contain aspects of maladjusted inflammatory processes. This review summarizes the general function of the immune system and its regulatory mechanisms in the vitreoretinal compartment. Next to non-pathological inflammatory processes, the review presents aspects of inflammation in the aging retina, AMD, glaucoma, uveitis and diabetic retinopathy. A better understanding of the complex immunology of the eye and inflammation of the vitreoretinal compartment may guide us towards more effective therapies for these very prevalent eye conditions.
Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration, aging retina, complement system, cytokines, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, immune system, uveitis, Vitreoretinal Compartment, retina, ophthalmological diseases