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Fuchs' dystrophy (fooks DIS-tre-fe) is a rare disorder that affects the cornea — the transparent front surface of your eye. Although the cause of Fuchs' dystrophy is unknown, it often occurs as an inherited disorder. Normally, the cells that line the back surface (endothelium) of the cornea prevent excess fluid from accumulating in the cornea. This helps the cornea maintain its transparency. But with Fuchs' dystrophy, those endothelial cells slowly deteriorate and die off. As a result, fluid builds up in the cornea. This may cause swelling, cloudy vision, pain and loss of corneal transparency. Fuchs' dystrophy causes a variety of vision problems and can eventually lead to blindness. Fuchs' dystrophy is considered one type of corneal dystrophy.
Alternative Names of Corneal Dystrophies are: Fuchs' dystrophy.
Causes of Corneal Dystrophies
In some people with Fuchs' dystrophy, the cause is unknown. However, for many people it's inherited as an autosomal dominant familial condition, meaning that about half of an affected person's children also will have the disease. The extent to which relatives experience signs and symptoms may vary. For instance, a parent with a mild case and few symptoms could have a child with a severe case and numerous vision problems.
Signs & Symptoms of Corneal Dystrophies
Doctors may see early signs of Fuchs' dystrophy in people who are in their 30s and 40s. But most people don't experience symptoms or problems until they're in their 50s and 60s. Signs and symptoms usually affect both eyes and include:
Diagnosis of Corneal Dystrophies
You may go through testing so that your doctor can determine whether you have Fuchs' dystrophy. Testing may include:
Treatments of Corneal Dystrophies
Your doctor may suggest the following methods and procedures to improve your comfort or stop your symptoms and signs of Fuchs' dystrophy from worsening.
When to seek Medical Advice
If you experience some of these symptoms, and especially if they get worse over time, see your eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist). If symptoms develop suddenly, call an ophthalmologist for an urgent appointment. Many conditions that cause the same symptoms as Fuchs' dystrophy require prompt treatment.
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