Fuchs’ Endothelial Dystrophy

Fuchs’ Endothelial Dystrophy is a condition in which the cornea becomes cloudy.

The cornea is a clear dome shaped window on the front of the eye that is the first thing light hits when it enters the eye. The cornea is like a sponge and it is constantly soaking up water from inside the eye. On the back of the cornea inside the eye there is a thin layer of pump cells (called endothelium) that work to pump this water out. In Fuchs’ Dystrophy these pump cells fail and the cornea starts to take on water. This makes the vision very blurred and the eye can have a hazy or glassy look.  

Early on, patients may not know that they have Fuchs’ dystrophy though it may be picked up by their optometrist. For some patients with moderate disease they may have hazy vision in the morning that clears or see haloes around lights.

When things get worse the vision may be hazy all day and in severe cases blisters of water can appear on the surface that can break causing pain and stinging.

No treatment is required for early disease, but if things are worsening the pump cells on the back of the cornea can be replaced. This operation is called an endothelial keratoplasty and is a type of corneal transplant requiring a donated cornea.

The corneal surgeons at the QEI Clinic are experts at this type of surgery and offer the latest DMEK type surgery which gives improved visual results compared to older styles of corneal transplant.

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