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What is Fuchs' disease?

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Fuchs' disease, also known as Fuchs' dystrophy, is a disorder of the cornea, the clear, rounded window on the eye, that causes it to swell, Mayo Clinic explains. Fuchs' disease can enhance glare, cloud vision and cause discomfort, but many cases are mild and cause no symptoms.

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Fuchs' disease is inherited genetically, but the cause is complex and different family members can be affected to very different degrees, states Mayo Clinic. It affects women slightly more often than men, and is more likely to cause symptoms after the age of 50. Fuchs' disease can worsen over time, and it shares many symptoms with other eye diseases. Because of this similarity, sudden manifestation of the symptoms of Fuchs' disease warrants urgent medical attention. Definitive diagnosis of Fuchs' disease requires several tests including a corneal pressure test, a corneal thickness test and a vision test.

For milder cases, treatments such as medicated eye drops and soft contact lenses are available, Mayo Clinic says. The contact lenses can provide relief for discomfort as they smooth out swelling in the cornea. Advanced Fuchs' disease may require surgery to treat. This surgery can replace only the inner layer of the cornea or the entire cornea. This surgery often produces dramatic improvements in symptoms.

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