Definition:

Fuchs’ dystrophy is an eye disease caused by degenerative changes affecting the innermost cellular layer of the cornea, the endothelium, which regulates the amount of fluid in the cornea. Due to degeneration of endothelium, the cornea becomes cloudy & swollen.

Fuchs' corneal dystrophy

Characteristics of Fuchs’ dystrophy

  • Painful, tiny blisters on the surface of cornea
  • Coarse, rough feelings in the eye
  • Progressive disease
  • Affects both eyes
  • Result in gradual vision loss over many years
  • There is no known prevention for Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • Can be mild type with almost no vision change

Cause of Fuchs’ dystrophy

In many cases, cause of Fuchs’ dystrophy is not known but mostly it is a genetic disorder. That means, it can be passed down from parents to children.

Risk factors of Fuchs’ dystrophy

Although it is an inherited disorder, but still there are some risk factors that increases the chances of a person for Fuchs’ dystrophy

  • Age above 50 years
  • More common among women than men
  • Family history of Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Axial hypermetropia
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma

Symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a progressive disorder that may show symptoms immediately or slowly with the course of time.

  • Glare
  • Cloudy or foggy or blurry vision
  • Eye pain & discomfort
  • Vision loss
  • Distorted vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seeing coloured halos around lights
  • Reduced contrast opinion
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Fluctuating eyesight
  • Foreign body sensation in the eye
  • Poor vision especially in the morning that improves as the day progresses

Diagnosis of Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Diagnosis of Fuchs’ Dystrophy requires a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor along with the following to find decreased vision, corneal swelling and decreased cells:

  • Slit lamp examination
  • Pachymetry to measure corneal thickness
  • Visual acuity test
  • Specular microscope examination to look at the thin layer of cells that line the back part of the cornea

Treatment for Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Treatment depends upon the stage of Fuchs’ dystrophy and may include:

  • Removal of excess water from the cornea with 5% sodium chloride (hypertonic) eye drops
  • Soft contact lenses
  • Glaucoma eye drops to reduce intraocular pressure
  • Cornea transplant surgery
  • Deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty (DLEK)
  • Femtosecond laser-assisted Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (FS-DSEK)

Fuchs’ Dystrophy Precautions

After gettingdiagnosed with Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, it is very important that the patient should discuss this with eye surgeon before opting for following procedures:

  • LASIK
  • Refractive Surgery
  • Cataract Surgery

Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is considered a contraindication for all these surgeries.

Complications of Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Fuchs’ dystrophy gets worse over time and can lead to following complications:

  • Corneal scarring
  • Blindness