Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Fuchs' dystrophy is a hereditary condition which occurs when endothelial cells gradually deteriorate without any apparent reason. It is one of the most common conditions requiring a corneal transplant. Although it can be seen in people as young as their 30s or 40s, it is typically seen later in life. As more endothelial cells are lost over the years, the endothelium becomes less efficient at pumping water out of the cornea resulting in swelling. In the early stages of the Fuchs’ dystrophy, this swelling can cause cloudy vision; eventually, in later stages, this can lead to pain and severe visual impairment.

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A unique symptom of Fuchs’ dystrophy is foggy vision in the morning which clears as the day progresses. In this stage, symptoms may be lessened with saline drops or ointment. As the disease progresses, however, the fogginess lasts most of the day. When drops can no longer clear the vision, and it interferes with daily activities, a patient may need to consider a corneal transplant.

Fuchs' Dystrophy - Before DSAEK surgery, showing thickened, cloudy cornea and After DSAEK surgery, showing clear cornea. The pupil is irregularly-shaped due to previous iris surgery.

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