There has been a recent increase in the development of delivery systems based on red blood cells (RBCs) for light-mediated imaging and therapeutic applications. These constructs are able to take advantage of the immune evasion properties of the RBC, while the addition of an optical cargo allows the particles to be activated by light for a number of promising applications. Here, we review some of the common fabrication methods to engineer these constructs. We also present some of the current light-based applications with potential for clinical translation, and offer some insight into future directions in this exciting field. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.