Fuchs' Dystrophy

What is Fuchs' Dystrophy?

Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is a genetic disorder in which the innermost layers of cells of the cornea die and stop functioning adequately. The function of these cells is to pump fluid out of the cornea to keep it clear and thin. When they stop working well or there are not enough of them, the cornea swells and the vision becomes cloudy. This process tends to be very slow, occurring over many years or even decades. The earliest signs of Fuchs’ dystrophy often start to show around age 40. Fuchs’ dystrophy in its earliest stages can be treated with special salt ointments at night and salt drops in the morning. As it progresses, a corneal transplant may be required to substantially improve vision. Most corneal transplants for Fuchs’ dystrophy are now of the endothelial keratoplasty type (DSEK, DSAEK, DMEK) although penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) is also used.

Dr. Vital Overviews Fuchs' Corneal  Dystrophy:


What can I do to make Fuchs’ dystrophy better?

Unfortunately, Fuchs’ dystrophy cannot be made better by dietary or lifestyle changes. The use of some types of drops (salt drops and sometimes glaucoma drops) can help to make the vision a little better and delay the need for a corneal transplant.

When is a corneal transplant needed for Fuchs’ dystrophy?

Corneal transplant surgery normally starts to become a consideration in Fuchs’ dystrophy when the best corrected vision with glasses or a contact is limited to the level of approximately 20/50 (slightly worse than the vision needed to drive).

If I have Fuchs’ dystrophy, what are the chances that my children or other family members also have or will develop Fuchs’ dystrophy

The exact genetic patterns and genetic transmission of Fuchs’ dystrophy is not fully understood. Research in this area is ongoing.