Fuchs‘ Corneal Dystrophy

Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is an inherited condition that affects the inner layer (endothelium) of the cornea. The function of the endothelium is to pump fluid out of the cornea keeping it clear. As we age, all individuals gradually lose endothelial cells. Usually, this loss is gradual enough to maintain a clear cornea through their lifetime.

In Fuchs' corneal dystrophy, the endothelial cells degenerate more rapidly. Once lost, the endothelial cells do not grow back. When there is enough loss of cells, the pump mechanism of the endothelial cells fails and the cornea can become swollen.

Fuchs’ is slightly more common among women and can affect both eyes. It is usually diagnosed over the age of 50. The progression is typically slow.

Symptoms of Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

  • Blurred vision, especially in the morning
  • Glare
  • Light sensitivity
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Pain

Diagnosis of Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is diagnosed with the slit lamp microscope. Also, a specular microscope can visualize and count the endothelial cells. This helps in making the diagnosis. Our doctors at Denver Eye Surgeons have all the advanced diagnostic equipment that is necessary to make the diagnosis.

How is Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy Treated?

Treatment for Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy involves trying to reduce the amount of corneal swelling from diseased endothelial cells. Hypertonic saline salt solutions help take some of the swelling out of the cornea temporarily. Sometimes when the pain from the swelling is significant, a bandage contact lens can be used to stabilize the surface.

When these measures are not sufficient to reduce visual blurriness and pain, surgical options of corneal transplantation, also known as penetrating keratoplasty, or DSEK endothelial transplantation become necessary to restore good visual and reduce pain.

Our doctors at Denver Eye Surgeons have the expertise, knowledge, and experience to help guide you through your best options for treatment. We have a fellowship-trained cornea specialist who can help you with the diagnosis and treatment of Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy.


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