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Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is an inherited condition that affects the inner layer (endothelium) of the cornea. The function of the endothelium is to pump fluid out of the cornea keeping it clear. As we age, all individuals gradually lose endothelial cells. Usually, this loss is gradual enough to maintain a clear cornea through their lifetime.
In Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, the endothelial cells degenerate more rapidly. Once lost, the endothelial cells do not grow back. When there is enough loss of cells, the pump mechanism of the endothelial cells fails and the cornea can become swollen.
Fuchs’ is slightly more common among women and can affect both eyes. It is usually diagnosed over the age of 50. The progression is typically slow.
Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is diagnosed with the slit lamp microscope. Also, a specular microscope can visualize and count the endothelial cells. This helps in making the diagnosis. Our doctors at Denver Eye Surgeons have all the advanced diagnostic equipment that is necessary to make the diagnosis.
Treatment for Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy involves trying to reduce the amount of corneal swelling from diseased endothelial cells. Hypertonic saline salt solutions help take some of the swelling out of the cornea temporarily. Sometimes when the pain from the swelling is significant, a bandage contact lens can be used to stabilize the surface.
When these measures are not sufficient to reduce visual blurriness and pain, surgical options of corneal transplantation, also known as penetrating keratoplasty, or DSEK endothelial transplantation becomes necessary to restore good visual and reduce pain.
Our doctors at Denver Eye Surgeons have the expertise, knowledge, and experience to help guide you through your best options for treatment. We have a fellowship-trained cornea specialist who can help you with the diagnosis and treatment of Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy.
At Denver Eye Surgeons, our doctors are ranked among the nation’s leading ophthalmologists and eye care professionals. All our eye surgeons are board certified and have advanced experience in today’s most innovative treatments. Please feel free to review our ophthalmology website to get the answers to any of your questions. Welcome to Denver Eye Surgeons!
Denver Eye Surgeons has been treating cornea related issues successfully for over 40 years!