Fuch’s Corneal Dystrophy

WHAT IS IT?

Fuch’s dystrophy is a degenerative inherited condition of the cornea, where the posterior cell layer (the endothelium), breaks down and malfunctions. The endothelium is responsible for pumping accumulated fluid out of the clear cornea at the front of the eye. An endothelial breakdown will result in the build up of excessive fluid and blurred vision. This blurring is usually worse at the start of the day because more fluid will accumulate during the night when the eyes are closed.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

It is thought to be an inherited condition that gets worse with age. Cell function can also be significantly affected with any surgery such as cataract removal, so the presence of Fuch’s dystrophy may mean delaying cataract surgery until absolutely necessary.

HOW DO WE ASSESS IT?

Your Envision Optical optometrist will carefully assess the cornea with our slit lamp biomicroscopes. Fuch’s dystrophy is observed by abnormalities and irregularities in the appearance of the endothelial cell layer. Fluid accumulation may be noted causing corneal thickening. We will use our Cirrus OCT scanner to check corneal thickness for any excessive swelling.

TREATMENT

Detection of the signs of Fuch’s dystrophy causing significant visual impact will lead to referral to a corneal specialist. They will consider prescribing drops which help draw the excess fluid out of the cornea. In extreme degenerative cases, corneal transplantation may be required to restore clear vision. Most people with Fuch’s dystrophy will notice that their vision fluctuates through the day. It is usually worse on waking and then improves later through the day.