The cornea is one of the most important parts of your eye. Not only is it responsible for most of your eye’s focusing power, but it also helps to shield the rest of your eye from the sun’s harmful rays and foreign particles like dirt and germs.
If your cornea’s health is in jeopardy due to a disease like Fuchs’ Dystrophy, the team at Eye Care of San Diego can help. Our corneal specialist, Dr. John Bokosky, has devoted his career to understanding and treating corneal diseases. He is committed to helping you overcome your corneal condition and achieve optimal ocular health and vision.
Understanding Fuchs’ Dystrophy
Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a degenerative condition affecting the endothelial layer (the back layer) of the cornea. This layer of cells helps to regulate the proper amount of fluid in the cornea. As the cells deteriorate and die, excess fluid can accumulate in the cornea and cause corneal swelling.
As the cornea swells, it becomes hazy, which blurs vision. Other symptoms include the following:
- Sensitivity to light
- Halos around lights
- Foreign body sensation
- Eye pain
The front of the cornea can also develop blisters or abrasions known as epithelial bullae.
It is common to experience cloudy or limited vision upon awakening in the morning, with some improvement as the day goes on. This is because the swelling is worse in the morning, after the eyelids have been closed all night. Having the eyelids open all day helps some of the excess fluid evaporate from the eye.
Experts do not know exactly what causes Fuchs’ Dystrophy, although they suspect it can have a genetic cause. The disease is slightly more common in women than in men. It tends to appear more often in people over the age of 50.
Treating Fuchs’ Dystrophy
Fuchs’ Dystrophy is diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, our doctors will use a piece of equipment called a slit lamp to look at your eye’s internal structures. If they notice a reduced number of endothelial cells, or a chance in the appearance of the endothelial cells, it could indicate Fuchs’ Dystrophy. The doctor may also measure your corneal thickness to evaluate whether there is corneal swelling.
The treatment for Fuchs’ Dystrophy depends on how advanced the disease is.
In the early stages of Fuchs’ Dystrophy, you may be prescribed special eye drops to reduce the amount of swelling and fluid inside the eye. In the more advanced stages of the disease, if it is significantly interfering with vision, corneal transplant surgery may be needed.
There are several different types of corneal transplant surgery. A full-thickness corneal transplant procedure removes and replaces the five layers of corneal tissue. There is a more advanced alternative to full-thickness corneal transplants that only replaces the endothelial layer, leaving the upper layers of the cornea intact. This approach has been shown to provide great outcomes while minimizing some of the risks of full-thickness corneal transplant.
Consult with Our Corneal Specialist
If you have been diagnosed with Fuchs’ Dystrophy or are experiencing unexplained blurry, hazy vision, you should consult with our experienced corneal specialist. Please contact Eye Care of San Diego today to schedule an appointment.