Fuch’s Endothelial Dystrophy

This form of corneal dystrophy usually develops during middle age, although there may be no symptoms initially (asymptomatic). Fuch’s dystrophy is characterized by problems with tiny cells called endothelial cells on the innermost layer of the cornea. Normally, these cells pump water out of the cornea to keep it clear. In Fuch’s dystrophy these cells deteriorate (“die off”) and the cornea fills with water and swells. The swelling worsens and blurred vision occurs that is usually worse in the morning, but can improve throughout the day. Tiny fluid filled blisters can form on the cornea, eventually rupturing and causing pain and poor vision. Affected individuals may also have a gritty or sandy feeling within the eye (foreign body sensation), be abnormally sensitive to light and see glare or halos when looking at lights. As the disease progresses, vision no longer improves during the day and significant vision loss may occur, oftentimes necessitating a corneal transplant. However a conventional full-thickness corneal transplant may no longer be required for Fuch’s disease.

See our DSEK webpage for further details and information or call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our corneal specialists.

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