Fuchs' Dystrophy

Clinical Services

Fuchs’ Dystrophy

What is Fuchs’ Dystrophy?

Fuchs' Dystrophy is an often-genetic condition that causes fluid to build up in the cornea, making them thick and swollen. The disease causes vision difficulty, including glare, blur, and discomfort. Fuchs' Dystrophy usually impacts both eyes and typically worsens vision over time.

Causes of Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Fuchs’ dystrophy is thought to be a hereditary condition caused by a gene mutation passed down through families. It affects more women than men, and people who smoke or have diabetes are at increased risk.

Symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Typically, the disease starts in the 30s and 40s, but many people with Fuchs' dystrophy don't develop symptoms until they reach their 50s or 60s. One of the first symptoms of the condition is blurred vision in the morning that usually improves through the day. As the condition progresses, though, patients might struggle to see detail. They may experience cloudy or blurred vision that takes longer to improve. Patients may notice glare, pain, and halos of light. They may experience a rough or gritty feeling in their eyes.

Diagnosis of Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Besides testing your vision, your doctor will examine and grade your cornea with a slit lamp. The thickness of your cornea may be measured, and special pictures may be taken to look for signs of swelling in the cornea. Your doctor may also examine the size, shape and count of the cells that line the back of the cornea. With those details, your doctor can determine the stage of the disease and develop the best treatment plan.

Treatment of Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Eye drops and ointments may be helpful in the early stages to reduce swelling. In the later stages, the best option is typically a cornea transplant. Your doctor may opt to transplant healthy endothelial cells into your cornea or to replace the center of the cornea with a healthy one from a donor.

The preferred transplant procedure is called endothelial keratoplasty in which only the inner layers of the cornea are replaced. This surgery usually does not require stitches and allows a faster recovery. Patients with Fuchs’ Dystrophy are advised against undergoing other vision-correction surgeries, such as Lasik, which could weaken the cornea further.

Routine eye examinations are recommended to monitor the condition. Long-term swelling can lead to cornea scarring, which makes transplants less successful.

What you can expect at the Cizik Eye Clinic

The Cizik Eye Clinic opened in 2007 and is housed in Memorial Hermann Plaza at 6400 Fannin Street. It includes dozens of exam areas, multiple operating rooms, and laser suites equipped with the most sophisticated equipment available for patient care.

People travel from across the country and the world for treatment at the Cizik Eye Clinic, in part because our affiliation with the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth provides unmatched resources and expertise. Our friendly staff works diligently to make your visit pleasant and efficient, as we maximize patient flow through everything from routine eye exams to the most advanced eye surgeries.

Our physicians are faculty members at McGovern Medical School and are board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology or are board eligible. At the Cizik Eye Clinic, we understand that the eye is a small part of a whole patient who deserves top-notch, comprehensive care in a cutting-edge facility.

Contact Us

At Robert Cizik Eye Clinic, we offer patients access to highly specialized eye and vision care. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-9400, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.