Fuchs’ dystrophy is a progressive disease that permanently damages endothelial cells that make up the inner layer of the cornea. Endothelial cells are key to processing water that makes up the corneal cell structure. When the endothelial cells diminish, the cells stop processing water properly and fluid starts to build up. The corneal tissue gradually thickens, causing the cornea to become swollen and cloudy, losing its crystal-clear transparency.
Some of the symptoms may include:
- Hazy or cloudy vision, especially upon waking in the morning; as the condition advances, however, these fluctuations become more persistent throughout the day;
- Glare and halos around certain objects (especially light sources);
- Reduced visual acuity;
- Reduced ability to discern contrasts;
- Difficult driving at night;
- Pain in the eye, if the condition is more advanced and blisters have formed
It is not possible to stop the change in the corneal tissue, so treatment of Fuchs’ dystrophy will focus on addressing your symptoms and associated pain. Because part of the underlying problem, especially in the early stages, is the collection of fluid, you maybe prescribed treatments to try and reduce the water content in the cornea. In advanced cases, partial corneal transplantation (DSAEK) maybe necessary.