What Is Fuchs’ Dystrophy?
Fuchs’ dystrophy is a disease of the cornea that occurs when the cells responsible for ensuring the flow of fluids in the corneal layer die off. As these cells disappear, the cornea loses its ability to keep itself clear by pumping these fluids, which results in the fluid building up in the eye and creating swelling and puffiness in the cornea. This then leads to cloudy or hazy vision.
Symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy
The symptoms of Fuchs’ dystrophy occur in two distinct stages.
During the 1st stage, symptoms are barely noticeable. Vision can be slightly hazy or blurry in the mornings, but gradually improve as the day goes on. This is due to the excess fluid drying as the day goes on, since the eyes are open and allowing airflow.
The 2nd stage is characterized by worsening symptoms that lead to other eye issues. The excess fluid is more abundant, which results in blurry and hazy vision lasting throughout the day with little improvement. This eventually leads to small blisters forming in the cornea that later burst and cause eye pain.
Additional symptoms during this stage can include:
- The feeling of sand or grit in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Worsening eye problems in humid areas
Causes of Fuchs’ Dystrophy
The precise cause of Fuchs’ dystrophy is currently unknown. The majority of those with this disease typically begin experiencing symptoms in their 30s and 40s, but may not realize it at the time. Noticeable vision problems might not occur until age 50 or later. Women are more likely to develop Fuchs’ dystrophy, along with those who have a family history of it.
Fuchs’ Dystrophy Treatment Options
Although there is no cure for Fuchs’ dystrophy, there are several options for addressing vision problems that result from corneal swelling. Special eye drops and ointments can sometimes be used to help to reduce swelling of the cornea’s cells.