La chirurgia oftalmica raggiunge un altro traguardo: due nuovi trapianti di Argus II, protesi retinica di ultima generazione, che consente di recuperare la vista a chi l’ha perduta. Questo successo potrebbe aprire la strada a nuovi scenari per il mondo della medicina.

In una retina normalmente funzionante, i coni e i bastoncelli (le cellule deputate alla captazione delle immagini), trasformano la luce proveniente dall’esterno in un impulso elettrico che arriva al cervello, il quale restituisce un’immagine definita di ciò che vediamo. Se queste cellule vengono a mancare della loro funzionalità, ad esempio per processi di retinite pigmentosa, l’occhio non svolge più il suo compito, causando una perdita della visione.

E’ quello che è successo ai due pazienti, un uomo e una donna rispettivamente di 65 e 51 anni, coinvolti in questo eccezionale trapianto effettuato nell’ospedale di Camposampiero, in provincia di Padova, dal Dott. Marzio Chizzolini. L’impianto di Argus II consentirà loro di recuperare in parte la vista perduta.

Il complicato intervento consiste nell’impianto di un piccolissimo chip epiretinico (all’interno e attorno all’occhio, ndr) che, una volta collegato alla retina del paziente, è in grado di captare e trasmettere il messaggio visivo attraverso i suoi elettrodi. eye_it

Il sistema di protesi retinica è in grado di bypassare i fotorecettori danneggiati grazie a un complesso sistema di comunicazione tra componenti interne (un’antenna, un involucro per l’elettronica e una matrice di elettrodi) e componenti esterne (occhiali con microcamera, un’unità di elaborazione video e un cavo).

external-components_it

Gli occhiali sono dotati infatti di una microcamera che, attraverso l’unità di elaborazione video, invia impulsi luminosi alla matrice retinica di elettrodi (circa 60) tramite un sistema wireless. Da qui i segnali elettrici generati vengono veicolati verso gli strati sani della retina, scavalcando i coni e i bastoncelli danneggiati, quindi attraversano il nervo ottico e raggiungono il cervello. Il tutto è comandato da un apposito controller a batteria che consente di regolarne la luminosità.

retinal-implant-infographic
Funzionamento Argus II
Fonte immagine: prafulla.net

I pazienti, prima di riacquistare la capacità di interpretare stimoli visivi (che tuttavia non sarà mai completa, ndr), necessitano di un adeguato tempo di recupero post-operatorio.

La funzione visiva, infatti, una volta attivato l’impianto, viene recuperata gradualmente: il soggetto riesce a percepire dapprima delle immagini in bianco e nero, sfocate e a bassa risoluzione. Dopo alcune settimane è in grado di cominciare a distinguere la luce dal buio e la forma degli oggetti.

Tale apparecchio ha però alcuni limiti: non può essere impiantato in soggetti ciechi dalla nascita, in quanto il cervello di questi soggetti non ha avuto la possibilità di sviluppare la capacità di interpretare i segnali visivi e, quindi, una memoria fotografica; inoltre ha scarsi o nulli successi in soggetti il cui nervo ottico ha subito dei danni.

Tuttavia nell’ultima paziente operata in Italia, le parole pronunciate presentazione dell’innovativo intervento sono state commoventi: “Io e Chizzolini, il mio chirurgo, siamo invincibili. So che potrò vedere solo in parte, sfocato, magari delle ombre, ma per me è come tornare alla vita: potrò vedere i miei figli, che mi dicono essere bellissimi, ma che ho dato alla luce quando ero già cieca”. 

Questo sistema è stato messo a punto dalla californiana Second Light Sight Medical Products. I primi successi sono stati ottenuti su pazienti operati nel 2011 dapprima negli Stati uniti, poi nei migliori ospedali Europei di Londra, Colonia, Ginevra e Parigi.

Allo stato attuale non sono stati registrati casi di rigetto, ragion per cui la procedura lascia aperta più che una speranza per il futuro della chirurgia oftalmica. I grossi limiti, oltre alle indicazioni ancora piuttosto ristrette, sono attualmente rappresentati dai costi molto esosi che gravano sulle spalle del Sistema Sanitario Nazionale.

158 COMMENTI

    • Cara Florinda,
      l’articolo in questione riguarda una procedura che non è applicabile per il tuo caso. Attualmente infatti, per rimuovere (o ridurre) la miopia è possibile ricorrere alla chirurgia refrattiva dell’occhio. Le metodiche attualmente praticate in Italia sono 5:intra-Lasik, Prk, Lasik, Lasek, Epilasik.
      A prescindere la loro nome in pratica fanno tutte le stessa cosa: viene rimodellata la superficie della cornea, modificandone il raggio di curvatura, al fine di aumentare o diminuire il potere refrattivo. Questo permette di corregere tranquillamente il difetto di cui soffri.
      L’intervento dura in media meno di 10 minuti ed è non vengono applicati punti di sutura. L’unico fastidio è dover tenere l’occhio bendato per qualche giorno e utilizzare colliri antibiotici al fine di evitare potenziali (ma rarissime ormai) infezioni.
      Per qualsiasi altra informazione non esitare a chiedere.
      Mi raccomando continua a seguirci!

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