ABOUT Fuchs' Dystrophy - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
What is Fuchs' Dystrophy?
Fuchs' Dystrophy is a rare eye disorder in which the cornea thins and develops a texture known as "bull's-eye." It can cause pain, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and other symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fuchs' Dystrophy?
People with Fuchs' dystrophy usually do not have pain, but their vision may be blurry, especially in bright sunlight. Sometimes they also experience eye dryness, redness, tearing, sensitivity to light, and losing their ability to focus.
These symptoms are all related to the weakened cornea. It is important to note that other eye conditions can cause similar symptoms. As a result, an eye care specialist will need to examine the patient to determine if Fuchs' dystrophy is present. However, if you have any of these symptoms you should see your optometrist or ophthalmologist for a professional diagnosis.
Causes of Fuchs' Dystrophy
In most cases, the cause is unknown. In some cases, it may be due to an autoimmune condition called sarcoidosis or viral infection such as herpes zoster (which causes shingles). Some common risk factors include being older than 50 years old or being fair-skinned with blue eyes. It also occurs more frequently in women than in men.
How Is Fuchs' Dystrophy Diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects you have Fuchs' dystrophy, he or she will perform a variety of tests to confirm the diagnosis.
You may be asked to complete your medical history and eye exam. Your doctor will also likely refer you to an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specializes in treating eye problems). The ophthalmologist will measure the thickness of your cornea and examine the back of your eyes with dilating drops or special contact lenses that make it easier to see certain areas of the eye.
Finally, the doctor will perform a detailed eye exam using a microscope. This exam confirms the diagnosis and may also help to determine if surgery is needed.
What Is The Treatment For Fuchs' Dystrophy?
If your doctor suspects you have Fuchs' dystrophy, he or she will likely recommend a combination of daily treatments that are very effective in treating the condition. These include:
· Pterygium treatment (also known as "fungus removal").
· Topical steroid medications (for example, prednisone or dexamethasone).
· Ophthalmic steroid medications (for example, triamcinolone acetonide ointment). If your ophthalmologist suspects Fuchs' dystrophy, he or she will probably suggest these medications in addition to the other treatments listed above. These are usually the mainstay of treatment for Fuchs' dystrophy. However, side effects can occur with both topical steroids and ophthalmic steroids so it is important to closely monitor your response to these drugs.
· Fuchs' dystrophy medications. These are prescription drugs that are obtained by your physician and then applied to the surface of the eye.
They strengthen the weakened cornea and also reduce inflammation. These medications include:
Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). A prescription medication that is used to treat organ graft rejection (in which the body tries to reject foreign tissue).
Cyclosporine can be used topically to treat Fuchs' dystrophy, but it may also cause serious side effects, including increased sensitivity to sunlight, dryness of the eyes, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and reduced immunity.
Frequently Asked Questions on Fuchs' Dystrophy
Will The Symptoms Of Fuchs' Dystrophy Go Away?
Although Fuchs' dystrophy is a long-term condition, symptoms may improve over time as the cornea becomes stronger.
In some cases, surgery is needed to replace a cloudy area of the cornea. However, this surgery is elective and should be considered if your symptoms have not improved with medication over several weeks or months.
Should I Wear Sunglasses?
You should wear sunglasses when you are in bright sunlight. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection will help protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays. Although Fuchs' dystrophy can be treated, it cannot be cured and will not go away on its own.
Protecting your eyes from the sun is one of the best ways to prevent further weakening of your corneas and other eye problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).