- Orange County LASIK
- About Vision
- Patient Forms
- Contact Us
Fuchs' dystrophy, also known as Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy, is a slowly progressing rare corneal disease that usually affects both eyes and is slightly more common in women than in men. Although doctors can often see early signs of Fuchs' dystrophy in people in their 30s and 40s, the disease rarely affects vision until people reach their 50s and 60s.
The cause of Fuchs' dystrophy is unknown, although it is an apparently inherited disorder. The inheritance is autosomal dominant with genetic and environmental modifiers such as increased prevalence in the elderly and in females.
This disease causes the endothelial cells that line the back surface of the cornea to deteriorate and die. Normally these cells prevent excess fluid from accumulating in the cornea. Without them the fluid builds up, which can cause swelling, cloudy vision, pain and loss of corneal transparency. This disease causes a variety of vision problems and can lead to blindness.
Endothelial cell loss may be aggravated or accelerated by intraocular trauma or surgery. A common scenario involves excessive corneal swelling or edema following cataract surgery or other types of ocular surgery. Hence, patients with a history of Fuchs' dystrophy may be at a greater risk of corneal edema after ocular surgery as they have fewer functioning endothelial cells.
Foggy or blurred vision upon awakening that may gradually clear as the day progresses
Visual impairment, distorted vision and changes in vision
Eye pain from tiny blisters on the surface of the cornea, caused by swelling in the cornea due to the water building up inside.
Sensitivity to light
Seeing halos around lights
Difficulty seeing at night
The cornea is cloudy or hazy in appearance
If the disease isn't very far advanced you can get temporary relief under the care of an eye professional. At that point, treatment usually consists of topical hypertonic saline and the use of a hair dryer to dehydrate the precorneal tear film. In using a hair dryer, the patient is instructed to hold a hair dryer at an arm's length or directed across the face, to dry out the epithelial blisters. This can be done two or three times a day. Therapeutic soft contact lenses can be worn to improve vision and help reduce discomfort.
However, Fuchs' dystrophy isn't going to go away by itself. It's possible it may never progress very far, but it's also possible that it may become advanced rather quickly. Sometimes Fuchs' dystrophy will progress to the point where painful blisters burst on the surface of the cornea, scarring the tissue.
The only real cure for Fuchs' dystrophy is either a conventional corneal transplant, called penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), or Descemet’s stripping with endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK), an advanced technique for corneal transplantation. DSEK avoids the surgical complications of PKP such as wound dehiscence and infections and high postoperative astigmatism. The eye surgeons at Harvard Eye Associates are experts in this area of treatment.
The time to get a cornea transplant with Fuchs' dystrophy is as soon the symptoms begin to affect your daily life. Since the healing process takes quite awhile you want to to be able to depend on having good vision in the non-transplant eye during the healing phase of the transplant.
As always, Harvard Eye is first and foremost concerned about what is best for each individual patient. Call us today for your personalized consultation!
Harvard Eye Associates
Laguna Hills Office
Map and Directions
24401 Calle de la Louisa
Laguna Hills, California 92653
Harvard Eye Associates
San Clemente Office
Map and Directions
665 Camino de los Mares
San Clemente, California 92673
The eye doctors of Harvard Eye Associates perform advanced technology diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to provide each patient with information needed to fully understand his or her condition and to achieve the best possible visual outcome.
If you or a family member or friend have not had a recent routine eye examination, have a specific eye condition that needs addressing, or are looking for an eye specialist, second opinion, or professional eye consultant please take a moment to Request an Appointment.
When exciting improvements in a current technique or product are introduced to the ophthalmic world, Harvard Eye Associates is often involved in the related clinical studies.
As a trusted, advanced clinical research study center, Harvard Eye Assoicates makes it possible to offer qualifying patients access to advancements in eye care not yet available to the general public.
Click below to see how you may benefit.
If you have questions about your eyes, Harvard Eye Associates is here with the information you need.
We've dedicated sections of our website expressly to list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, covering cataract surgery, glaucoma, retina, LASIK, macular degeneration, dry eyes and more, plus an online form where you may submit questions directly to an eye doctor.
Please click below to have your questions about vision answered.
Internationally regarded as the go-to specialist in eye care, Harvard Eye offers a combined experience of over 100 years and over 100,000 surgical procedures. The doctors of Harvard Eye Associates have treated virtually every known eye condition there is, plus a few previously unknown.
Whether you or a loved one are having a first eye exam, a repeat eye exam, or are seeing a new eye doctor at Harvard Eye for the first time, there are a number of routine questions you can expect.
Your answers to these questions during eye exams are anything but routine for your eye doctor, so you may want to arrive prepared.
Read testimonials and watch videos of actual Harvard Eye Associates patients who have benefited from our professionalism, dedication, and commitment to high quality patient care.
Our offices provide patients with all eye care needs from routine eye exams to complex surgical procedures.
We are both proud and grateful that our patients have chosen to trust their vision with Harvard Eye!
Volunteer work is extremely important to Harvard Eye Associates. Twice yearly, we travel the world to teach and perform surgery to people who have no other resources, and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to providing medical training and supplies to developing countries.