The cornea is the first light-focusing surface in your eye, so when it’s swollen out of shape, your vision suffers. Fuchs’ dystrophy is an eye disorder that causes corneal swelling. The eye care professionals at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care, serving East Brunswick, Toms River, and Morristown, New Jersey, can help you manage the condition in its early stages, as well as performing corneal transplant as Fuchs’ dystrophy becomes advanced. Call or click today to set up a consultation.
The inside of the cornea is lined with endothelial cells that manage the balance of fluids within the cornea that helps it maintain its shape. Fuchs’ dystrophy sees these endothelial cells die off, which in turn causes fluids to build up within the cornea. This pressure thickens the cornea and changes its shape, and that causes changes in your vision.
Fuchs’ dystrophy may cause tiny blisters on the surface of your cornea that causes pain or feelings of grittiness in your eyes. You may become sensitive to glare, which can affect your ability to see at night and around bright light sources, and your vision may become blurry overall.
These symptoms are common to many eye conditions, so see your vision care professional at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care for an expert diagnosis.
Fuchs’ dystrophy runs in families, so there’s a genetic risk factor. The disorder affects women slightly more often than men. In most cases, Fuchs’ dystrophy starts in your 20s or 30s, though typically symptoms aren’t noticeable until 30 years later.
There’s a rare type of the disease that starts in childhood. Smokers and diabetics also show an increased risk of developing Fuchs’ dystrophy.
There are several tests that help your doctor determine if you have Fuchs’ dystrophy. Using an optical microscope called a slit lamp, the condition of the cornea is examined to determine the stage the disease has reached. Other tests include measuring the pressure within your cornea as well as its thickness.
Your corneas may respond to eyedrops or ointments designed to reduce the amount of fluid inside, reducing pressure and relieving symptoms. Soft contacts may also provide relief from pain caused by corneal surface blisters.
Two types of corneal transplant surgery are typically used to treat Fuchs’ dystrophy. Replacing the inner layer of the cornea with healthy tissue from a donor is the most common method, done as day surgery under local anesthetics. Replacing the entire cornea isn’t often used to treat Fuchs’ dystrophy, but there are still situations where it may be the best option.