All About Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

In older adults, a disorder that affects the front surface of the eye or the cornea is called Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy.

An eye disease that concerns the cells in the innermost layer of the cornea that undergoes degenerative changes is Fuchs’ dystrophy. The endothelium is a layer of cell that is responsible for keeping up sufficient amounts of fluid in the cornea. It also keeps the cornea clear to prevent pumping excessive fluid that can cause corneal swelling.

The disease usually affects both eyes and can cause vision loss because of the edema in the cornea and clouding. As it progresses, the swelling can cause blisters that are called epithelial bullae. Bullous keratopathy is the name of the condition.

The cause of Fuchs’ dystrophy is unknown therefore there are known ways to prevent it. It is mentioned that it can be from genetics but it also occurs in individuals who do not have a history of the disease.

Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy

Symptoms of Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

These are the following symptoms that are associated with Fuchs’ dystrophy:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain in the eye
  • Blurry or foggy vision
  • There are colored halos around lights in vision
  • Having trouble seeing at night
  • Poor vision in the morning but improves later in the day
  • You feel that there is a foreign body in your eye

The vision problems that occur when you have Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy affect people at an age beyond 50 but early signs can be detected by eye doctors in younger adults. This eye condition appears to be more common among women than men.

Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy

Examination and Treatment for Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

The most common test that is performed to detect any eye condition is a comprehensive eye exam.

With Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, it is also needed to detect the condition with the use of a slit lamp for a detailed examination of the cornea. The eye doctor examines the cornea by looking at it at high magnification to see any changes that occurred which may indicate underlying disease.

Reduced number of endothelial cells and corneal guttata is an early clinical sign of Fuchs’ dystrophy. Pachymetry is performed to detect corneal swelling from the disease.

The treatment depends on what stage of Fuchs’ dystrophy you have. If it is in the early stage, removal of excess water in the cornea using 5% sodium chloride (hypertonic) eye drops improves vision.

A cornea transplant is needed when the condition causes significant vision loss. Penetrating keratoplasty, an alternative option, replaces the endothelium that makes the upper parts of the cornea untouched.

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