Fuchs' Dystrophy is a condition in which the cornea (the clear covering of the eye) begins to accumulate fluid, causing edema (swelling) to the cornea. This process is typically very slow, but can lead to progressive blurring of the vision and glare symptoms. This usually is worse in the mornings. Symptoms may also become painful if fluid cysts in the cornea rise to the surface and burst, giving the person a foreign body sensation.
The primary defect of Fuchs' Dystrophy is diseased endothelial cells (the inner-most layer of the cornea). This cell layer thins (because the cells die) and this causes edema to slowly form. As a result, vision will be impaired. Vision will gradually deteriorate. Although medication may improve the vision temporarily, ultimately, a corneal transplant may be needed.
Fuchs' Dystrophy affects women more than men and is usually diagnosed after age 60. It commonly affects both eyes and is thought to be hereditary.