Fuchs' dystrophy

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A transplanted cornea (by PK type)

Fuchs dystrophy is an hereditary disease that affects the cornea, the clear front part of the eyes. It is also known as Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) or Fuchs endothelial dystrophy (FED). The disease is named after Ernst Fuchs (1851-1930), an Austrian ophalmologist (eye doctor) who first described it in 1910. Ernst Kraupa, a German eye doctor also described the disease in 1920. The disease usually affects older people. More women than men are affected. The disease seems to be caused by a genetic defect, it is not contagious.

Usually, there is a fluid between the inside of the cornea, and the rest of the eye. Special cells at the inside of the cornea move this fluid in and out of the eye. In people with Fuchs dystropy, these cells die and can no longer move the fluid. This leads to a build-up of fluid in-between the two layers and a cloudy appearance in the cornea. Treatment is effective and good vision can often be restored to affected people. Eye surgeons can use a variety of operations using cornea transplantation using donated material from dead people. Eye drops can also be a treatment under the right circumstances. About 4% of people over the age of 40 get Fuchs' dystrophy in the United States.

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