Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is a disorder in which the cells in the endothelial layer of the cornea essentially die. The purpose of these cells is to pump fluid from the cornea. When these cells are no longer functioning, fluid builds up and causes corneal swelling. This corneal edema affects vision, causing it to be cloudy or hazy. 

Early stages of Fuchs’ dystrophy may go unnoticed by the patient. Symptoms typically occur after age 50. Women and those that have family history of corneal dystrophy are more likely to develop this condition. As the condition progresses, patients will notice blurry vision and can also experience pain. Swelling of the cornea can eventually lead to blisters which may burst, leaving open sores on the eyeball. Other symptoms include a sandy or gritty sensation of the eyes or sensitivity to light. 

The most common treatment of Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is using a sodium chloride drop or ointment, like Muro 128. This medication can be purchased over-the-counter, and works by drawing fluid from the cornea, functioning similarly to the endothelial cells. Your ophthalmologist will advise which sodium chloride solution to use. In severe cases, the patient may require a corneal transplant. 

If you have any of the above symptoms or have a family history of corneal dystrophy, call our office at (859) 278-9486, and we will get you on our schedule to see Dr. Dudee as soon as possible.

Above shows an endothelial cell count (ECC) scan in which all of the endothelial cells are present. The “circles” that are shown are the cells.
The above photo shows an ECC of someone with Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy. The black holes and areas of darkness are spots of missing endothelial cells. This can also be seen by an ophthalmologist during a slit lamp examination.

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