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Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Characterized by swelling of the cornea, Fuchs’ dystrophy is a condition that affects both eyes and can lead to discomfort, glare, and cloudy vision.​ At Contemporary Ophthalmology of Erie in Erie, PA, our doctors can diagnose and treat this condition to ease the glare and blur in your vision to improve your overall quality of life. We have proudly served our community for over 30 years. Rest assured that when you choose our ophthalmology practice, you will be receiving the highest level of care possible.

Closeup of eye with Fuch's Dystrophy

A Progressive Disease

Left untreated, Fuch's dystrophy can lead to perpetual blurriness and a gritty sensation at the back of the eyes. 

Recognizing the Symptoms

Generally, Fuchs’ dystrophy becomes apparent in patients during their 50s or 60s. Individuals who develop this condition may experience:

  • Pain: Oftentimes, Fuchs’ dystrophy causes an uncomfortable, gritty feeling in the eyes. This is due to tiny blisters that develop on the surface of the cornea.
  • Blurry vision: You may notice blurred vision when first waking up. In the early stages of the disease, your sight will gradually grow clearer as the day goes on. However, as it progresses, the blurriness lingers.
  • Glare or halos: In many cases, patients notice glare, particularly in extremely dim or bright light. Halos may also appear around light sources.

Individuals may also develop light sensitivity or distorted vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule a consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist. Seeking the care of a knowledgeable doctor early on can help alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Diagnosing Fuchs’ Dystrophy

To make a diagnosis, your doctor will perform a complete vision evaluation to assess:

  • Corneal thickness: Your doctor may use a special instrument called a pachymeter to measure the thickness of the cornea.
  • Corneal pressure: After administering numbing eye drops, your ophthalmologist will touch the surface of your eye with a small instrument to determine intraocular pressure. This can help your doctor distinguish between Fuchs’ dystrophy and glaucoma, which exhibit similar symptoms.
  • Corneal cell count: This test records the shape, size, and number of the cells lining the back of the cornea.
  • Stage of the disorder: Using a slit lamp, your ophthalmologist will determine the stage of the disorder by visually assessing the back of the cornea. If there are tiny, irregular bumps on the back of the cornea, it may be a sign of Fuchs’ dystrophy.

Treatment for Fuchs’ Dystrophy

There are a few different methods available to alleviate the effects of the disease. Your doctor may recommend surgical or nonsurgical options, depending on your situation.

Generally, Fuchs’ dystrophy becomes apparent in patients who are in their 50s or 60s.

Nonsurgical Therapies

If you are still in the early stages of the disease, medicated eye drops or ointments can reduce the amount of fluid in the cornea. Additionally, soft contact lenses can cover the cornea and serve as a protective barrier.

Surgery

If you have advanced Fuchs’ dystrophy, however, surgical intervention may be the best option. This method is quite effective and can improve vision for many years. There are two options:

  • Replacement of the corneal inner layer: During this procedure, the back layer of the cornea is replaced with healthy donor tissue.
  • Corneal transplant: Also known as penetrating keratoplasty, this procedure replaces the affected cornea with a new, healthy one from a donor. Though this method is not used as often as before, it may still be the best option for certain patients.

Ease the Effects of Fuch's Dystrophy

Are you experiencing blurred vision, sensitivity, or other symptoms related to Fuchs’ dystrophy? If so, schedule a visit with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists to get a comprehensive diagnosis and recommendation for treatment. Contact us online at any time or give us a call at (814) 838-9555.

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