Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy

Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy is a corneal disease that may lead to blindness. This particular corneal eye disease is described by slow-moving changes in the endothelium, which is the thin, innermost layer of the cornea.

The cells in the endothelium are essential to keep the cornea clear because they pump excess fluid out of the middle corneal layer, or the stroma. If the stroma is not flushed properly, it will swell, become hazy, and eventually become opaque, creating vision loss and eventual blindness. Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy creates an internal swelling of these delicate corneal cells, which can kill them. As endothelial cells die the body cannot replace them so a corneal transplant is the best option to save your vision.

The disease most often begins with blurry vision in the morning and your vision will worsen as it progresses. Other symptoms can include glare, sensitivity to light, seeing halos around lights, eye pain, a feeling that something may be stuck in your eye, and pain. Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy is often inherited and is found more commonly in women than in men. Early signs of Fuchs’ dystrophy can be detected in people in their 30s and 40s, but the disease rarely has a noticeable effect on vision until people reach their 50s and 60s. Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy can be detected by a thorough eye examination of the cornea, so it is important to keep regular eye appointments in order to catch Fuchs’ as early as possible. This disease cannot be cured, but when it is caught early enough vision can be improved by the use of eye drops that can help remove some of the excess water from the cornea. Eye drops used to treat glaucoma may also be prescribed because they reduce pressure in the inner eye; high eye pressure can further damage the endothelium, which will worsen the effect of Fuchs’ endothelium dystrophy. If your vision is severely impaired, a corneal transplant will be the only option to restore your sight. The surgeons at Cornea Consultants of Albany are experienced and skilled at performing corneal transplants and will not let your vision suffer. You can be sure that your eyes are receiving the best of care at our practice, and that your sight will be protected and well-maintained.

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