Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a rare corneal disease that causes excess fluid buildup in the cornea. It is a slowly-progressing disease, the cause of which is unknown. The disease is usually passed on from a parent who suffers from the condition.

The cornea is made up of several layers, including the most inner layer, the endothelium. In a healthy cornea, the endothelial cells act as a pump or filter, draining any excess fluid from the cornea in order to maintain its clarity.

Fuchs’ Dystrophy affects these endothelial cells, causing them to deteriorate and eventually die. The result is a less effective drainage pump and fluid buildup in the cornea. This fluid buildup causes a number of reactions, including swelling, pain, cloudiness and eventually reduced vision.

Am I at Risk?

The actual cause of Fuchs’ Dystrophy is unknown, but it is apparent that the disease is hereditary.

However, the degree of which one family member experiences symptoms can vary greatly, so it is not uncommon for a person to pass along the disease unknowingly to their offspring.

People More Likely to Develop the Disease Include:

  • Women – who are 5 times more likely to develop the disease then men
  • People with an immediate family member who has the disease
  • People over the age of 50


The symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy usually don’t appear in people until they are age 50 or older, although in some cases they can appear sooner. They include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Impaired night vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • The appearances of glare and halos around lights
  • Pain/pressure in your eyes
  • Tiny blisters on your eyes
  • Your eyes look cloudy in the mirror
  • Vision that is cloudy in the morning and clears up as you go through the day

These symptoms usually affect both eyes, and gradually worsen over time. Additionally, these symptoms are concerns for a variety of eye problems, so if you are experiencing any of these, it is advised that you schedule an appointment with our Cornea specialist immediately.

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