Background: Uveitis and optic neuritis are prevalent ocular inflammatory diseases, and
highly damaging ocular conditions. Both diseases are currently treated with corticosteroids, but they
do not have adequate efficacy and are often associated with severe side effects. Thus, uveitis and
optic neuritis remain a challenging field to ophthalmologists and a significant public health concern.
Objective: This review summarizes findings showing the benefits of a treatment with melatonin in
experimental models of these inflammatory ocular diseases.
Results: Oxidative and nitrosative damage, tumor necrosis factor, and prostaglandin production have
been involved in the pathogeny of uveitis and optic neuritis. Melatonin is an efficient antioxidant and
antinitridergic, and has the ability to reduce prostaglandin and tumor necrosis factor levels both in the
retina and optic nerve. Moreover, melatonin not only prevents functional and structural consequences
of experimental uveitis and optic neuritis, but it is also capable of suppressing the actively ongoing
ocular inflammatory response.
Conclusions: Since melatonin protects ocular tissues against inflammation, it could be a potentially
useful anti-inflammatory therapy in ophthalmology.