What Is the Meaning of "Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy"?


Quick Answer

Fuchs endothelial dystrophy is an eye condition caused by the deterioration of endothelial cells lining the back of the cornea, according to Genetics Home Reference. The condition commonly affects individuals in their 40s or 50s and triggers symptoms such as blurred vision and sensitivity to light.

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A healthy endothelial lining helps regulate the amount of fluid inside the cornea, Mayo Clinic states. When endothelial cells steadily die off, the cornea fills up with excess fluid, becoming thick and swollen. Fuchs dystrophy typically occurs in both eyes, causing an individual to experience episodes of blurred vision that often start after waking and clear up druing the day. The condition can also lead to cloudy vision, glare and distortion, making it difficult for sufferers to perceive fine details or see in dark or low-lit environments.

As Fuchs dystrophy develops, harmful deposits, known as guttae, collect on the cornea and contribute to the deterioration of endothelial cells, Genetics Home Reference notes. Pain may develop in the eyes if corneal blisters form or burst. Although Fuchs dystrophy is considered a late-onset condition, a rare form can affect individuals as early as their 20s. Women have a higher risk of developing the condition, which can be inherited genetically.

In mild cases, people with Fuchs dystrophy experience minor symptoms and may only need prescription eye drops to control fluid buildup, Mayo Clinic states. In progressive cases, physicians may recommend soft contact lenses to reduce pain and swelling or surgery to repair the endothelial lining.

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