What is Fuchs’ Dystrophy?
Fuchs’ dystrophy (pronounced fooks), also known as Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy or Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, is a disease of the cornea that affects the endothelium layer, which is the innermost layer of the cornea. The corneal endothelium layer consists of a group of cells that help keep the cornea clear by pumping out excess fluid. When the healthy endothelial cells undergo degenerative changes, they can decrease in number and fluid can start to build up. This condition causes corneal swelling and cloudiness and leads to blurry or poor 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 tiny blisters called “epithelial bullae” to form.
Symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy include:
- Glare and sensitivity to light.
- Seeing halos or glares around light sources.
- Rough or gritty feeling in the eye.
- Foggy or blurred vision.
- Eye pain, issues with seeing at night.
- Poor morning vision that improves throughout the day.
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Who is at Risk for Fuchs’ Dystrophy?
There are certain factors that may increase the risk of Fuchs’ dystrophy. These include:
- Genetics: Those with a family history of Fuchs’ dystrophy have an increased risk of developing this condition.
- Sex: Typically, Fuchs’ dystrophy affects more women than men.
- Age: This disease typically begins in the 30s and 40s, though it may rarely begin in childhood.
If you are experiencing any of the above 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.
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Treatment Options for Fuchs’ Dystrophy
Although patients may be able to relieve some of their symptoms with eye drops or ointments, as Fuchs’ dystrophy progresses, many patients must undergo a partial cornea transplant called DSAEK. This procedure can treat vision problems and give you an improved quality of life.
What is DSAEK?
In order to manage Fuchs’ dystrophy and improve vision, corneal surgeons today can perform a partial corneal transplant called Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK), which removes the damaged endothelium cells and replaces them with healthy donor tissue. 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 fewer sutures. Recovery time is also greatly reduced and patients meet their visual potential much quicker compared to traditional procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fuchs’ Dystrophy
Can you go blind from Fuchs Dystrophy?
If you are interested in learning more regarding Fuchs’ 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.
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