Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy

At Centre for Sight our area of special expertise is the Cornea. Fuchs Endothelial Dystophy is a condition where the cells on the back of the cornea drop out. These endothelial cells are important for keeping the cornea clear and as a result of loss, the cornea fills with fluid which in turns affects corneal transparency. A Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty is a small incision procedure that results in rapid visual rehabilitation.

Eye and lens banner

Fuchs’ dystrophy, also known as Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, is a relatively common condition which is inherited.

Fuchs’ dystrophy is a slowly progressing corneal disease that usually affects both eyes and is slightly more common in women than in men. Although doctors can often see early signs of Fuchs’ dystrophy in people in their 30s and 40s, the disease rarely affects vision until people reach their 50s and 60s.

With Fuchs’ dystrophy the cells on the innermost layer of the cornea called the endothelium drop out. The endothelial cells are responsible for pumping the water out of the cornea.  Without the cells the cornea fills up with water and swells and is particularly bad on awakening. This is because the closed eyelids during sleep prevents evaporation of fluid from the cornea. Symptoms are worse first thing on awakening and vision clears after a few hours. This duration until the vision clears increases as the disease progresses. Eventually vision does not recover and a corneal transplant is required.

To find out more about corneal transplant options, click the links below.

DSAEK / DSEK (Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty)

DMEK (Descemets Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty)

Author Information

Authored by Sheraz Daya MD FACP FACS FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon & Medical Director, June 2019.

Next review due June 2024.