FUCH’S DYSTROPHY: OVERVIEW, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
You may have heard of common eye problems, for instance, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome, among others. In fact, you can easily get information regarding these ailments.
But have you heard about some less common eye problems such as Fuchs’ Dystrophy? This is a genetic eye disease that affects the cornea. While this is a disease that most patients are born with, it is hardly detected until later stages.
As the disease progresses, endothelium, which is the layer of cells that maintains the required levels of fluid in the cornea will deteriorate forming tinny bumps on the back of the cornea.
Most patients suffering from Fuchs’ dystrophy leave the hospital premises with more unanswered questions. It is even more challenging if you’re trying to educate yourself about this condition.
In this post, you’ll learn about Fuch’s dystrophy so you can become more informed.
Let get started:
As said earlier, Fuchs’ dystrophy is a generic eye problem that affects the cornea. The cornea has six layers of cells. The endothelial cells are found at the back of the cornea. Among other functions, endothelial cells are responsible for continually pumping the fluid from the cornea so it can remain compact and clear.
The problem starts when the endothelial cells start to fail. There’s fluid buildup in the cornea which strains the cells. What’s more, it causes swelling in the cornea and vision becomes cloudy. The corneal can also decompensate in severe forms of Fuchs’ dystrophy.
Depending on the patient, the severity of this condition varies. While some are disturbed due to the vision problem, some are not even aware that they are having the condition.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS?
Some possible symptoms of Fuchs’ dystrophy include:
- Eye pain
- Glare and sensitivity to light
- Challenges seeing at night
- Foggy or blurred vision
- Poor vision in the morning. The condition might, however, improve as the day progresses
- Foreign eye sensation
CAN FUCHS’ DYSTROPHY CAUSE EYE BLINDNESS?
With the current technological advancements, blindness is unlikely to occur to patients with severe Fuchs’ dystrophy. This is because Fuchs’ dystrophy has no impact on the retina. The retina is the layer of the cornea that is sensitive to light. It is the nerve cable responsible for connecting the eye to your brain.
The refractive power of the eye comes from the cornea. Doctors can restore the normal functions of the cornea by performing a corneal transplant in severe forms of Fuchs’ dystrophy.
FUCHS’ DYSTROPHY DETECTION
Optometrists or ophthalmologists can perform a comprehensive eye checkup to detect Fuchs’ dystrophy.
The doctor will use a slit lamp to perform a comprehensive examination of the cornea. The doctor inspects the cornea using a special magnification tool, keeping an eye out for abnormalities and changes in the endothelium cells.
Your doctor will be looking for initial signs, for instance, the reduced number of endothelial cells and cornea guttata, the tiny drop-like lesions in the cornea.
Your doctor might also measure the thickness of your cornea to check for any swelling as a result of the disease.
Besides, visual acuity testing during a comprehensive eye exam with an eye chart can help detect reduced vision caused by corneal swelling.
In its early stages, Fuchs’ dystrophy can be treated easily. Ideally, a 5 percent sodium chloride ointment is put into the eyes to help draw out the fluid. This salt-based solution is instilled between two and four times a day.
Some patients have shown better results after using the ointment for a short time.
However, you’ll require to undergo surgery if your condition is in more advanced stages. In fact, this can be the only option for patients in advanced stages to regain vision and comfort.
Through a process called corneal transplantation, the patients can regain their vision and have complete symptoms removal. In this process, the back layer of your cornea will be replaced with healthy tissue from a compatible donor.
HOME REMEDIES FOR FUCHS’ DYSTROPHY
In addition to any medical treatment, your eye doctor might suggest home remedies and lifestyle changes. All these suggestions are meant to soothe the physical discomfort due to fluid discomfort and reduce the glare in the eyes.
When done in the early stages, these options are effective. However, surgery may be the only remedy if you’re experiencing too much pain or you’ve lost the vision.
To that end, you may want to consider the following:
- Using a hairdryer to dry your eye
- Over-the-counter salt solution
- Wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet protection