In this paper, we report the first study on cytotoxicity of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and theirs derivatives with human ocular cells, such as ARPE-19 cells. In particular, we have systematically investigated the cytotoxicity of SWCNTs, hydroxyl-functionalized SWCNTs (SWCNT-OH), and carboxylic functionalized SWCNTs (SWCNT-COOH) with ARPE-19 cells by examining their influence on the cell morphology, viability, oxidative stress, membrane integrity and apoptosis. To this end, various methods, including optical micrography, CCK-8 assay, LDH assay, SOD assay, TEM and Apoptosis assay, have been used in this study. Our results suggest that SWCNTs could cause an decrease in the cell survival rate, changes in the SOD level, membrane integrity and cell apoptosis, indicating a high toxicity to ARPE-19 cells. However, chemical functionalization of SWCNTs with –OH and –COOH groups was found to significantly improve the biocompatibility of SWCNTs. Among the SWCNTs and their derivatives studied in this work, the SWCNT-COOH exhibits the best biocompatibility to ARPE-19 cells.