Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Fuchs’ dystrophy is a rare disorder that affects the cornea — the transparent front surface of your eye. Although the cause of Fuchs’ dystrophy is unknown, it is often an inherited disorder.

Normally, the cells that line the back surface of the cornea prevent excess fluid from accumulating in the cornea. This helps the cornea maintain its transparency. But with Fuchs’ dystrophy, those cells slowly deteriorate and die off. As a result, fluid builds up in the cornea. This may cause swelling, cloudy vision, pain and loss of corneal transparency.

Fuchs’ dystrophy causes a variety of vision problems and can eventually lead to blindness.

Early signs of Fuchs’ dystrophy may be detected in people who are in their 30s and 40s. Most people don’t experience symptoms or problems until they’re in their 50s and 60s.

Signs and symptoms usually affect both eyes and include:

  • Blurred vision on awakening that may gradually clear up as the day goes on
  • Painful, tiny blisters (epithelial blisters) on the surface of your cornea — caused by excess fluid within the cornea
  • Visual impairment, distorted vision and changes in vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Blindness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seeing halos around lights (astigmatism)
  • A cornea that is cloudy or hazy in appearance

Contact our office if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, especially if they seem to worsen over time. If you experience sudden changes in your vision, contact our office immediately or go to your nearest emergency room. There are other vision threatening eye conditions that have many of the same symptoms as Fuchs’ dystrophy.