Fuchs’ dystrophy (pronounced fooks) is a disease of the cornea that affects the endothelium layer, which is the innermost layer of the cornea. The endothelium layer consists of a group of cells that help keep the cornea clear by pumping out excess fluid. When the cells undergo degenerative changes, they can decrease in number and fluid can start to build up. This condition causes the cornea to swell, become cloudy and cause blurry vision.
Fuchs’ dystrophy usually affects both eyes and can cause blurriness due to the swelling of the cornea (corneal edema) and clouding. As the disease progresses, bullous keratopathy can occur, which causes painful blisters called “epithelial bullae” to form.
Symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy include:
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There are certain factors that may increase the risk for Fuchs’ dystrophy. These include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if they worsen with time, be sure to see an eye care professional who may then refer you to a corneal specialist. If you experience symptoms that occur suddenly, be sure to see your eye doctor as soon as possible, as there are some other eye conditions that cause similar symptoms as Fuchs’ dystrophy that may require prompt attention.
Although patients may be able to relieve some of their symptoms with eye drops or ointments, as the disease progresses, many patients must undergo a partial cornea transplant called DSAEK. This procedure can restore clear vision for improved quality of life.
In order to manage Fuchs’ dystrophy and to improve vision, corneal surgeons today can perform a partial corneal transplant called Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK), which removes the damaged endothelial cells and replaces them with healthy donor cells. The procedure has seen tremendous success and most patients that undergo DSAEK regain clear vision.
The DSAEK procedure offers many benefits over other corneal transplant options, including a much smaller incision and much fewer sutures. Recovery time is also greatly reduced and patients meet their visual potential much quicker compared to traditional procedures.
If you are interested in learning more regarding Fuch’s dystrophy and DSAEK, contact Kung Eye today! Our friendly and helpful team will be happy to assist you in scheduling your eye appointment with one of our skilled eye care professionals.