Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved intracellular recycling pathway that is indispensable for cellular quality control. Dysfunctional autophagy has been associated with several neurodegenerative, myodegenerative, infectious, and cancerous disorders. Autophagic processes are not only important for cellular maintenance in the retina but also intimately involved with phagocytosis and the very core of retinal visual process. Additionally, excessively upregulated autophagy may culminate into a cell death modality, which may be detrimental to the non-dividing cells of various eye segments. Major advances have been made in understanding the role and fate of autophagy in different ocular tissue layers. In this chapter, we summarize the current understanding of autophagy in the eye in the context of development, aging, and disease. We also speculate on the putative therapeutic strategies where autophagy may be incorporated to treat oculopathies.
Part of the book: Autophagy in Current Trends in Cellular Physiology and Pathology