Fuchs endothelial dystrophy
Fuchs endothelial dystrophy is a condition that causes vision problems. The first symptom of this condition is typically blurred vision in the morning that usually clears during the day. Over time, affected individuals lose the ability to see details (visual acuity). People with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy also become sensitive to bright lights.
Fuchs endothelial dystrophy specifically affects the front surface of the eye called the cornea. Deposits called guttae, which are detectable during an eye exam, form in the middle of the cornea and eventually spread. These guttae contribute to the loss of cells in the cornea, leading to vision problems. Tiny blisters may develop on the cornea, which can burst and cause eye pain.
The signs and symptoms of Fuchs endothelial dystrophy usually begin in a person’s forties or fifties. A very rare early-onset variant of this condition starts to affect vision in a person’s twenties.
Treatments for Fuchs’ dystrophy
Good vision can be restored in patients with Fuchs’ dystrophy and other causes of corneal endothelial failure by corneal transplantation.
Since 2000, selective corneal transplantation techniques have been developed, which allow surgeons to replace the damaged endothelial layer with healthy tissue through a small incision in an operation similar to modern cataract surgery.
Different versions of this operation called endothelial transplant are available to suit different patients. These ‘keyhole’ corneal transplantation operations can be performed under local anaesthetic, can be repeated if necessary, and can quickly improve vision.