Nerve growth factor (NGF), the prototypical neurotrophin first discovered in the 1950s, has recently garnered increased interest as a therapeutic agent promoting neuronal health and regeneration. After gaining orphan drug status within the last decade, NGF-related research and drug development has accelerated. The purpose of this article is to review the preclinical and clinical evidence of NGF in various applications, including central and peripheral nervous system, skin, and ophthalmic disorders. We focus on the ophthalmic applications including not only the FDA-approved indication of neurotrophic keratitis but also retinal disease and glaucoma. NGF represents a promising therapy whose therapeutic profile is evolving. The challenges related to this therapy are reviewed, along with possible solutions and future directions.