Fuch’s Dystrophy

Fuch’s dystrophy is an eye disease in which cells in the endothelial layer of the cornea begin to die off. These cells act as pumps to pump out the excess fluid from the cornea keeping it clear. As more and more cells die off fluid begins to build up in the cornea causing the cornea to swell and the vision to become cloudy or hazy. Fuch’s dystrophy is more common in women than in men, and usually vision problems do not appear before the age of 50. However your ophthalmologist may begin to see signs of the disease in people by the age of 30 to 40. Fuch’s dystrophy is largely inherited but the condition has occurred in people that do not have a family history of the disease.

Symptoms may include:

  • Foggy or blurred vision, at first only in the mornings
  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Worsening vision throughout the day
  • Seeing colored halo’s around lights

Exams and Testing may include:

  • Slit Lamp Exam – allows your doctor to look at the cornea
  • Pachymetry – Measures the thickness of the cornea
  • Specular Microscope – photograph that allows your doctor to count the cells in your cornea
  • Visual Acuity Test


  Early stage

  • Use a medicated eye drop or ointment to reduce swelling of the cornea.
  • Use a hair dryer, held at arm’s length, to blow warm air on your face. This help to dry the surface of the cornea.

  Later Stage

  • DMEK, DSAEK surgery – Healthy endothelial cells are transplanted into your cornea. This surgery has a faster recovery and fewer complications.
  • Corneal Transplant – The center of your cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea. Longer healing time and you will need to use eye drops daily to prevent rejection.


Fuch’s dystrophy gets worse over time. Without a corneal transplant a person with severe fuch’s may have very reduced vision or become blind. Your Ophthalmologist will talk with you and let you know what the best options are for your treatment.

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