Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your doctor may suggest the following methods and procedures to improve your comfort or stop your signs and symptoms of Fuchs' dystrophy from worsening.
- Use eye medication. Eyedrops or ointments can reduce the amount of fluid in your cornea.
- Dry your eyes. Use a hair dryer and hold it at arm's length. Direct warm — not hot — air across your face two or three times a day to evaporate excess fluid in the cornea and dry out blisters.
- Wear soft contact lenses. Soft contact lenses can improve vision and reduce discomfort.
Receive a corneal transplant. This surgical procedure, also known as keratoplasty, replaces damaged cornea tissue with healthy tissue from a donor. There are many types of corneal procedures. Some procedures replace only a few thin layers of the cornea, while others replace the entire cornea. For Fuchs' dystrophy, an increasingly common procedure replaces only the deep layers of the cornea, including the endothelium. This is sometimes referred to as endothelial keratoplasty or posterior lamellar endothelial keratoplasty.
Corneal transplants are common and effective. However, you may have to wait a long time for donor tissue to become available. And some people develop problems following transplants, such as rejection of the new corneal tissue. Rejection may cause increased sensitivity, redness, pain and worsening vision. Many times, rejection can be managed with topical eye medications. After corneal transplant, your eyes may feel uncomfortable. You'll need to use eyedrops for several months to help your eyes heal. The majority of people who have a successful transplant for Fuchs' dystrophy continue to be free of symptoms for years after the transplant.
- Participate in research or a clinical trial. Clinical trials involve studies of new ways to diagnose or treat a condition. Clinical trials don't always offer a definite diagnosis or cure, but they may allow you to take advantage of the latest knowledge about your condition. Ask your doctor if you're eligible for any clinical trials.
- Facts about the cornea and corneal disease. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cornealdisease. Accessed May 31, 2011.
- Clintworth GK. Corneal dystrophies. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 2009;4:7.
- Borboli S, et al. Mechanisms of disease: Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy. Ophthalmology Clinics of North America. 2002;15:17.
- Corneal conditions. Cornea Research Foundation of America. http://www.cornea.org/index.php/research/corneal_conditions. Accessed May 31, 2011.
- Afshari NA, et al. Clinical study of Fuchs corneal endothelial dystrophy leading to penetrating keratoplasty. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2006;124:777.
- Visiting your doctor. The Corneal Dystrophy Foundation. http://www.cornealdystrophyfoundation.org/cdfliterature/Visiting_Your_Doctor.pdf. Accessed May 31, 2011.
- Hecker LA, et al. Anterior keratocyte depletion in Fuchs endothelial dystrophy. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2011;129:555.