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What is Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy, Know its Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Stages, Natural Treatment, Prognosis, Recovery

What is Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy?

Fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy is a problem related to cornea, which is the front window of eyes. In this condition swelling occur in the cornea that ultimately causes blurry vision, inconvenience in eye and more. Usually, it affects both the eyes and in due course of time the vision gets worse day by day. Majority of people suffer from mild Fuchs’ Dystrophy so they do not feel much difference in their normal vision.

What is Fuchs' Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy?

Is Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy hereditary?

Yes, fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy hereditary is hereditary eye disease. Symptoms of this disease often become noticeable at or after the age of 50.

What is Guttata of the Eye?

Guttata is the initial finding in fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy; it is visible as dark spots in the corneal endothelium. For healthy vision it is very important that cornea should remain should regularly pump out fluid. This pumping of fluid is not done by endothelial cells. Patient suffering from fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy since long, in them the endothelial cells starts dying.

What is Corneal Edema in Humans?

Corneal edema is a condition when most of the endothelial cells get damaged and due to lack of pumping out of the fluid, cornea gets flooded with fluid. This condition is known as corneal edema and in case the problem persists then it can lead to vision loss.

Causes of Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Lining of endothelial cells present on the inner side of cornea helps in maintaining proper fluid level in cornea for correct vision. Endothelial cells play a crucial role in preventing swelling of eye and also contribute in keeping the vision blur free. Fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy damages these cells and the normal functioning of cornea is hampered leading to fluid accumulation in cornea causing swelling. Fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy can also be inherited from parents. The genetic combination of this disease is highly complex.

Symptoms of Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Some of the common symptoms of fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy include:

  • Experiencing blur vision in the morning, this slowly gets improve during the day pass. As the seriousness of the problem persists then the time frame for improving the vision increases.
  • Cornea starts looking hazy or cloudy.
  • Glare is the early symptom affecting vision in dim light.
  • Development of small painful blisters on the surface of cornea.
  • Sensitivity to light and distorted vision is also a symptom of fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy.

One should immediately visit a doctor, if they experience any of the above mentioned symptoms. In case the symptoms appear suddenly then taking help from ophthalmologist is a must. When ophthalmologist examines the cornea of a patient suffering from fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy it looks like:

  • Cornea haze.
  • Swelling in cornea.
  • Guttata on cornea.
  • Unusual thickening of cornea.

Stages of Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Fuch’s dystrophy develops in two different stages. In stage 1 fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy patients experience mild symptoms, such as swelling of cornea in the morning and as the day pass it resumes its original size. This way vision may be lightly blur in the morning but then gradually it becomes clear. As the condition persist and patient enters in stage 2, vision does not clear in the later part of day. Stage 2 fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy patients face pain in eyes; hyper sensitivity to light etc, the situation becomes even worst in adverse climatic condition.

Treatment for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

There are various nonsurgical and self care treatments that help patients to recover from fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy. It is only in some severe conditions that doctors suggest surgery. There are two treatment methods adopted:

  • Eye Medication. Doctors suggest effective eye drops and ointments to minimize the amount of fluid accumulation in cornea.
  • Soft Contact Lenses. Various types of contact lenses are available but doctors always suggest soft lenses as they act as a bandage to minimize the pain by reducing the swelling on corneal surface.

Cataract Surgery for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

In cataract surgery the natural lenses of the eye that develops cataract is removed and artificial lenses are placed in the eye. Eyes with cataract form clouding on the eye, which cause blur vision. After new lens is implanted patient get clear vision. Before the surgery doctors perform various tests to know the exact condition of eye and based on the examination doctors select the right lens for patient. The cataract surgery for treating fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy last for few minutes but both before and after the surgery patient need to take extra and proper care of eyes. This is so because in case of negligence eyes can be badly affected.

Natural Treatment for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Other than medical help one can also opt for some natural ways to cure Fuch’s dystrophy. One can blink the eyes lids frequently this maintains moisture on the cornea. One should include healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables in their diet. Wash eyes with cold water to clean eye impurities. These ways are very effective in maintaining correct vision.

Home Remedy for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

As the problem occurs because of fluid flooding in eyes hence, patients should first dry their eyes with the help of a hair dryer. Make sure not to use hot air, instead; opt for cold air for this purpose. This way excess fluid gets removed from eyes and it is a good home remedy.

Prognosis or Outlook for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

For corneal transplant surgery, short term outlook or prognosis of fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy is excellent but studies reveal that it not always necessary that transplant will hold up for long. Instead, there are situations when transplant was rejected.

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Recovery period varies with the severity of eye condition. Patient suffering from stage 1 fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy have faster recovery. On the contrary, patient suffering from stage 2 fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy take more time to recover from the condition. In some cases patients undergo surgery for complete relief.

Tests to Diagnose Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Doctors suggest a series of tests to confirm whether the patient has fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy or not. Along with detection of problem it also detects the severity or the same, such as the thickness of cornea, proper shape and vision clarity.

  • Vision Test is the first and the foremost test performed by almost every doctor. This in fact is a routine test performed on every doctor visit. Through this test doctors ask patients to read letters from different distances to know vision clarity from different distances.
  • Corneal pressure test is also done for fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy. With this test doctor use various high tech instruments to measure pressure on cornea. Before starting with the procedure doctors make patients eye numb with eye drop.
  • Another test is the cell count of cornea. Cells forming the back lining of cornea also plays a crucial role in maintaining vision. Hence, in some special cases doctors use equipment to find the count, size and shape of these cells.
  • Staging. Through this test doctors identify the exact condition of the eye. This is done with the help of optical microscope and doctors get to study lining of cornea, improper bumps, surface of cornea and so on.
  • Before prescribing any medication to patient doctors examine the thickness of cornea. They do this with the use of various modern equipment.

Prevention of Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

As such there are no specific preventive measures against fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy but one should keep their eye clean and should perform all the activities that help in making eyes healthy. Also, one should immediately take medical help when they experience any eye problem.

Risk Factors for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy are as follows:

  • Individuals who are more than 50 years are highly prone to fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy.
  • This problem is more common in women than in men.
  • As it is a hereditary problem so people having family history of fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy are also prone to this eye problem.

Complications of Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

As discussed above some of the common sings fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy are poor eyesight, high sensitivity to light, heaviness or swelling in eyes, redness on the surface of cornea and constant pain in eyes. These symptoms ultimately lead to some serious complication, they are, Loose sutures, Glaucoma, Cataract, Endophthalmitis, Ulceration, Wound separation, Haemorrhage, Choroidal detachment, Cornea Edema and more.

Lifestyle Changes for Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Doctors suggest some lifestyle changes to reduce glare and for betterment of eyes:

  • Apply all the ointments and eye drops prescribed by doctors on time.
  • Skip junk food and incorporate only healthy fruits & vegetables in daily diet.
  • Quit smoking and drinking.
  • Making exercise or workout a part of life is a good lifestyle change for fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy.

Coping with Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy

Patient suffering from fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy look for family support to fight with the condition they are in. Both physical and emotional strength is very much required during the treatment phase. One can also look up to experienced counselors for help in coping.


  1. “Fuchs’ Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy.” American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/fuchs-dystrophy
  2. Stuart, A. J., Romano, V., Virgili, G., & Shortt, A. J. (2018). Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) versus Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) for corneal endothelial failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6(6), CD012097.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 25, 2023

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