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413-733-1818 299 Carew St # 400, Springfield, MA
Fuchs’ Dystrophy

What is Fuchs’ dystrophy?

Fuchs’ dystrophy is a disease of the cornea. It is when cells in your endothelium layer slowly begin to die off. These specific cells are meant to pump fluid away from your cornea to keep it clear. When they die, the fluid builds up and the cornea gets swollen and or puffy. Your vision also will become cloudy or hazy.  This particular eye disease has two separate stages.

In the early stage, you may begin to notice few problems that may not come across as much of an alarm. Your vision will usually get hazy in the morning time but progressively improves throughout the day. We find this to happen because your eyes stay moist when they are closed during your sleep, and when you wake up, the fluid dries up per usual.

During the second stage of Fuchs’ dystrophy, too much fluid can build up and remain blurry because not enough is drying up during the day. Tiny blisters can form in the cornea and eventually break open causing eye pain. Individuals in their 30s and 40s may have Fuchs’ dystrophy but not know it. Vision problems may not appear until age 50 or even later. Women are more likely than men to have vision issues, and your family’s hereditary issues may also increase your risk of developing it.

What are the symptoms of Fuchs’ dystrophy?

  • A dirty, or gritty and sandy feeling inside of your eyeballs
  • Eye pain is caused by small blisters in the endothelium layer of  your cornea
  • Feeling extra sensitive to bright lights
  • Eye problems tend to worsen in humid temperatures
  • Very blurry or hazy vision from scarring can develop in the center of your cornea

How is Fuchs’ dystrophy diagnosed?

Doctor Henderson will look closely at your cornea and measure its thickness. This is called pachymetry. She will also take a look at the tiny blisters on the front surface of the cornea and the drop-like bumps on the back surface of your cornea. By using a special photograph of your cornea, Doctor Henderson will count the cells that are still in your endothelium.

How is Fuchs’ dystrophy treated?

As of now, there is no cure for Fuchs’ dystrophy. However, you can control vision problems from corneal swelling by using an eyedrop medicine or ointment. Oddly enough, you can also use a hairdryer held at arm’s length away from your face to blow warm air which can help to dry the surface of your cornea. Your treatment depends on how Fuchs’ affects your eyes cells. A third option that can occur in more severe cases is a corneal transplant. This surgery can be done through two separate types of surgeries. Endothelial keratoplasty is the method of healthy endothelial cells getting transplanted into your cornea. Or, a second surgical option is a Full corneal transplant this is where the center of your cornea is replaced with a healthy cornea from a donor.

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