Zika vírus pode causar graves danos a retina em lactentes, aponta pesquisa da Unifesp

Camadas interna e externa da membrana são as primeiras a serem afetadas pelo vírus.

olhoEstudos anteriores já confirmaram a presença de danos na retina – tecido onde as imagens são captadas para depois serem processadas pelo cérebro – e no nervo óptico de crianças com infecção congênita pelo vírus Zika. No entanto, uma pesquisa publicada no periódico online JAMA Ophthalmology, no início de novembro, mostrou que tanto as camadas externas quanto as internas da retina são as primeiras a serem afetadas pelo vírus, desencadeando alterações importantes nessa membrana, como seu afinamento, e sérios prejuízos à visão central desses bebês.

Esse é o primeiro estudo que analisou e descreveu as mudanças estruturais na retina de crianças com lesões maculares provocadas pelo vírus Zika usando tomografia de coerência óptica (OCT), exame de imagem de alta tecnologia, não invasivo, que permite diagnosticar com alta precisão doenças da retina, vítreo e nervo óptico.

O trabalho, que teve como primeiro autor a oftalmologista Camila Ventura, avaliou oito crianças, com idades entre três e cinco meses. Sete delas foram submetidas a análise do líquido cefalorraquidiano para o vírus Zika e tiveram resultados positivos para anticorpos IgM – produzidos na fase aguda da infeção. Outras infecções congênitas foram descartadas. Onze dos 16 olhos (69%) dos lactentes avaliados apresentaram alteração da retina.

Rubens Belfort Jr., professor do Departamento de Oftalmologia da Escola Paulista de Medicina da Universidade Federal de São Paulo (EPM/Unifesp) e um dos autores do artigo, explica que esses dados também permitirão comparar com resultados de outras doenças oculares infecciosas e não infecciosas “Estas descobertas irão talvez também ajudar a identificar casos menos graves – sem lesões macroscópicas – e clinicamente difíceis de identificar, mas com potencial para a perda de visão”.

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