The cornea is the clear window in the front of the eye. Light must first pass through the cornea to form the images that make up vision. Five distinct layers contribute to the health and function of the cornea.
Fuchs Dystrophy is a hereditary disease of the corneal endothelium. The primary function of the endothelium is to regulate the fluid balance of the cornea. In Fuchs Dystrophy endothelial cell loss results in swelling or edema. As swelling increases corneal clarity is diminished resulting in vision problems. In advanced cases painful blisters can form on the corneal surface. Common symptoms of Fuchs dystrophy include blurry vision that is worse upon waking, increased glare with bright lights, haloes around lights, poor night vision, and eye pain.
Early stages of Fuchs Dystrophy can benefit from treatment with salt water eye drops. For patients in whom vision no longer meets their daily needs corneal transplantation is the standard of care. Corneal transplants may be full thickness Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) or partial thickness procedures. Partial thickness grafts have the advantage of quicker healing, faster visual recovery, and less risk of immune rejection. Partial thickness procedures include Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). These procedures are performed without stitches or sutures to stabilize the graft. Instead, air or gas is placed in the front of the eye to push the graft against the back of the cornea. Patients are required to position on their back with the head parallel to the ceiling to allow the graft to fully attach. The type of procedure is determined by the surgeon and depends on the presence or absence of other eye conditions.
To schedule an appointment for a corneal evaluation with Dr. Edmonds, please call Milwaukee Eye Care at 414-271-2020.