Fuchs’ Endothelial Dystrophy – Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy
Fuchs’ dystrophy is a corneal disease that progresses slowly and usually affects both eyes. The disease is slightly more common in women than men and typically first affects vision when people reach their fifties and sixties. This degenerative disorder of the cornea generally leads to corneal edema and some loss of vision. This disease is known to have a genetic link, but environmental factors play a role in its progression. This variable expressivity is seen with increased severity in females.
Symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy
- Eye pain
- Eye sensitivity to light, especially glare
- Foggy or blurred vision, at first only in the mornings
- Seeing colored halos around lights
- Worsening vision throughout the day
Self Evaluation Test
- Are you over 50 years old?
- Do you awaken with blurred vision that gradually clears during the day?
- Did anyone in your family have Fuchs’ dystrophy?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, it is imperative that you see an ophthalmologist to evaluate your vision care needs.
Dr. Cutarelli can diagnose Fuchs’ dystrophy during a slit-lamp examination. Additional tests that may be done include:
- Pachymetry measures the thickness of the cornea
- Specular microscope examination allows the doctor to look at thin layer of cells that line the back part of the cornea
- Visual acuity test
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why does my vision seem worse in the morning?
A As you sleep, your eyelids remain closed, and moisture does not evaporate from the cornea. Your corneas contain the maximum amount of moisture just before you wake. After you wake, water evaporates from the corneal surface, making the stroma thinner and your vision less distorted.
Q: I have Fuchs’ dystrophy. Do I need a corneal transplant?
A Not necessarily. Among individuals carrying the particular genotype for Fuchs’ dystrophy how it is expressed is difficult to predict even when the patient has one of two or more forms of the gene. Some patients with Fuchs’ dystrophy will never need a corneal transplant.
Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent my Fuchs Dystrophy from getting worse?
A No, however Dr. Cutarelli can treat your symptoms.
Eye drops or ointments that draw fluid out of the cornea are used to relieve symptoms of Fuchs’ dystrophy. If painful sores develop on the cornea, soft contact lenses or surgery to create flaps over the sores may help reduce pain. The only cure for Fuchs’ dystrophy is a corneal transplant. Fuchs’ dystrophy is one of the leading reasons for corneal transplantion in the United States.
Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) is an alternative to a traditional transplant. In this procedure, only the inner layers of the cornea are replaced with donor tissue. The procedure requires no stitches. Recovery time is faster and there are fewer complications, such as rejection.