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Fuchs corneal endothelial dystrophy is an inherited eye condition, which may cause your cornea to become cloudy. Fuchs dystrophy develops slowly and can affect people to a varying degree. Fuchs affects the innermost layer of your cornea causing you to become sensitive to light and for your sight to become cloudy.There are no treatments, such as drops or medicines, which can cure Fuchs dystrophy. However, if Fuchs dystrophy affects your sight, then you will be offered a corneal transplant, which will normally make your sight clear again.
If the changes to your sight are starting to cause you difficulties, upon thorough examination, I may recommend that you have a corneal transplant. Corneal transplants are extremely successful in treating this syndrome. A corneal transplant is surgery to remove all or part of a damaged cornea and replace it with healthy, clear cornea tissue.
Types of corneal transplants
The most common corneal transplants used to treat Fuchs replace only the innermost layers of the cornea. These types of procedures are known as 'endothelial keratoplasty' which have short recovery times, usually only a few weeks or months. Stitches are not required. Less commonly in Fuchs dystrophy, someone might need to have a full thickness transplant. This is where your whole cornea is replaced by a donor cornea. This type of transplant requires stitches and has a recovery period of about eighteen months.
How well does corneal transplant work?
Corneal transplants work very well in Fuchs dystrophy as Fuchs does not reappear in the transplant. Most people notice an improvement in their sight in the first six months after surgery. After having a corneal transplant you will need to wear glasses or contact lenses to get the best possible vision. How much and how quickly your vision will recover after a corneal transplant can depend on the type of transplant you have had. Although rejection is a risk and can affect about one in five of all transplants, the risk of rejection is reduced by using steroid eye drops. Across all types of corneal transplant, 75% last at least five years and more than 50% last up to ten years.