Corneal dystrophy comes in more than 20 types and occurs when material piles up in at least one of the five layers of the cornea. Corneal dystrophy can cause the cornea to lose its clarity, with the result being decreased or blurred vision.
A corneal dystrophy falls into one of three categories, depending on which part of the cornea it affects. Dystrophies of the anterior or superficial cornea affect the outermost part of the cornea, while stromal types affect the stroma layer. A posterior corneal dystrophy impacts the inner layers of the cornea. Fuchs' dystrophy is one example of a posterior corneal dystrophy.
Most corneal dystrophies are genetic; the dystrophy can occur at any age. While corneal dystrophies affect both genders equally, Fuchs' dystrophy impacts more women. Some people have no symptoms with a corneal dystrophy, while others get buildup that affects their vision. Many also experience corneal erosion that causes pain, sensitivity to light and the feeling of an object in the eye.
Treatment depends on the dystrophy type. Antibiotics, eye drops, contact lenses, laser therapy and corneal transplants are some options.
Fuchs' dystrophy is progressive, can result in blindness and affects endothelial cells, which help with processing water. When less water is available for processing, fluid accumulates and corneal tissue grows. The cornea swells, and vision becomes cloudy.