Fuchs’ Dystrophy

What is Fuchs’ Dystrophy?

Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a slow progressive disease that usually affects both eyes. It occurs when the natural pumping activity of the endothelial cells (the innermost layer of the cornea) begins to deteriorate. Excess fluid begins to accumulate causing the cornea to become swollen and less transparent. This condition is most commonly seen in men and women between the age of 40 and 50 although it typically does not become visually significant until later in life. Having Fuchs’ Dystrophy may be significant if cataract surgery is being considered.

Signs & Symptoms

Fuchs’ Dystrophy is most often associated with blurred vision upon awakening that gradually clears during the day. In more advanced stages, the blurred vision persists throughout the day. Pain, foreign body sensation, and light sensitivity may develop in the advanced stages.

Treatment

Treatment for Fuchs’ Dystrophy varies depending on the severity of the condition. Hypertonic saline eye drops or ointments are often the first treatment utilized to decrease swelling of the corneas. When a patient’s vision begins interfering with their day-to-day activities and/or they begin experiencing painful symptoms they may need a corneal transplant. Oftentimes, an Endothelial Keratoplasty such as Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) or Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) would be the preferred procedure.