The cornea is made up of 5 layers. The innermost layer is known as the endothelium which contains cells that constantly pump water out of the whole cornea. These cells play a very important role in keeping the cornea clear, preventing it from swelling with water and making our vision blurry.
Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy, also known as Fuchs’ Endothelial Dystrophy, is a condition where these endothelial cells start to die, and are not replaced. The cornea loses its ability to rid itself of excess water, causing it to swell. Early symptoms typically start around the age of 40-50, with light sensitivity and blurry vision that improves as the day progresses. This is because the eyes are open during the day, and can rely on evaporation to get rid of the excess water.
Treatment includes soft contact lenses and salt-water drops which help remove water from the inner layers of the cornea. Definitive/curative treatment aims at replacing the endothelial layer through a corneal transplant procedure. There are many types of transplants that may be used, please refer to Corneal Surgery to read about the procedures below.