Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a condition that affects the bottom layer of your cornea. The cornea is the clear transparent window of your eye that is composed of five main layers. These layers are the epithelium, Bowman’s layer, stroma, Descemet’s membrane and the endothelium. The endothelium is the bottom layer of the cornea and is composed of one cell layer. This cell layer is responsible for pumping fluid from within the stromal layer into the anterior chamber of the eye thereby maintaining a clear and compact cornea. In Fuchs’ dystrophy, the endothelial cells die off or do not function properly resulting in a buildup of fluid within the cornea. This causes corneal swelling that can lead to glare and blurred vision.
As the disease continues to progress symptoms can include blurred vision which can be worse in the morning after awakening and gradually improves during the day, glare which can affect contrast perception and vision in low lighting, sensitivity to light, decreased vision at night with seeing halos around light and pain from tiny blisters on the surface of your cornea.
Fuchs dystrophy usually affects both eyes and is a gradual process. Some people with Fuchs’ dystrophy may never notice any changes in their eyesight. However if the Fuchs’ dystrophy is advanced, the only way to relieve symptoms completely is with a corneal transplant surgery that replaces the inner layer of the cornea known as Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK).