Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

The cornea is at the front of the eye; it allows light rays to enter the eye. It has three layers, the outer epithelium, a middle area called stroma, and an inner, delicate lining called the endothelium. The job of the endothelium is to prevent water inside the eyeball from moving into and swelling the other layers of the cornea. The cells of the endothelium pump water from the cornea back into the eye.

Problems occur when this doesn’t happen. If the endothelium isn’t working correctly, water moves into the cornea. This leads to swelling that clouds the cornea and blurs vision. The more the cornea swells, the more vision is blurred.

Eventually, water makes it to the outer layer, the epithelium, resulting in eye pain and more severe vision impairment. This swelling also changes the normal curvature of the eye, changing vision. A sight-limiting haze also develops.

We have a set number of endothelium cells. We don’t make anymore, and they decrease as we age. For most people, even a decreased number of cells is sufficient to maintain vision even in old age.

Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy

Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy is an inherited condition that affects the inner cornea, the endothelium. People with this condition have endothelial cells that aren’t as efficient as they should be in moving water, and they age and deteriorate more rapidly than normal endothelial cells. This allows more water to move from inside the eyeball into the cornea.


Hazy morning vision — This is because when our eyes are open during the day, water evaporates from the eye. But at night, with our eyelids closed, this doesn’t happen, so the patient wakes with hazy, blurred vision due to the water buildup at night.

These are other symptoms:

  • Fluctuating vision
  • Glare when looking at lights
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sandy, gritty sensation
  • Episodes of sharp, sometimes incapacitating pain


At Central Valley Eye Medical Group, we can diagnose Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy and, although there is no cure, treat it. We prescribe salt solutions containing sodium chloride to draw fluid from the cornea to reduce swelling. Steroid eye drops are useful in some patients. We also give the patient some home practices, such as holding a hair dryer at arm’s length and blowing the air towards the face with the eyes open. This evaporates water from the cornea and temporarily reduces swelling.

When vision deteriorates to the extent that it interferes with daily activities and impairs the patient’s life, we may recommend a cornea transplant. This surgery replaces the full thickness of the cornea, all three layers, with healthy layers.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have the symptoms of Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy, please give us a call at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, (800) 244-9907, and let’s take a look at your eyes.

Posted in: Corneal Disease


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Dear Friends,

We at Central Valley Eye hope you and your families are well. With COVID-19 infections continuing to rise, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep patients and staff healthy as we continue to provide the eye care that our community needs:
  • Whenever appropriate, we are rescheduling any patients with cough or cold symptoms
  • We have adjusted our schedule to decrease the number of patients in our waiting rooms. You can expect on average between zero and one patient to be in the waiting room at any given time.
  • We have increased our already strict sanitizing practices to extend into the waiting areas and halls.
  • Whenever appropriate, we are diverting visits to telemedicine (by cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop). Please contact us for further details at 209-952-3700.

    Additionally, some of our office locations may be closed on certain days. If you are unsure whether to come in for your visit, please call us.

    The doctors at Central Valley Eye will not be performing any non-urgent surgeries until further notice. Our surgery coordinators will be contacting patients to reschedule the surgeries that need to be postponed.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 209-952-3700.

    Warmest regards,

    Brandy Simpson
    Practice Manager
    Central Valley Eye Medical Group, Inc.