The chapter examines the use of stem cells in ophthalmological pathologies affecting both the anterior and posterior segments. The authors review the clinical trials that have most contributed to defining the role and potential of stem cell regenerative therapy in corneal and retinal pathology. The results described in the scientific literature are analyzed and commented, without neglecting the possible side effects related to the use of this therapy. Within the anterior segment, the greatest efforts were made to study the possible uses of limbal epithelial stem cells (LESCs). They were the first stem cells to be discovered at the level of the anterior segment and currently the only ones involved in clinical practice with satisfactory results. At this juncture there have been significant successes in the treatment of corneal stem cell deficiency and of corneal scars. The chapter later investigates the possible applications of stem cell therapy in degenerative retinal diseases, with particular reference to retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt’s disease, and age-related macular degeneration. It then describes how the use of cell therapies, in particular those that use ADSC, can contribute, through various methods, to the containment of the evolution of retinal degenerative diseases. These mechanisms cover various biological aspects and can be summarized as follows: neurotrophism, oxidation, vascular changes, apoptosis, inflammation, or immunology. The ophthalmological modalities of the cell graft and what is the ideal approach for an ophthalmological cellular surgery are later on described. Finally, the technique used by the author and the possible outcomes in the course of degenerative retinopathy are described.
Part of the book: Regenerative Medicine