Normally, the cells lining the inside of the cornea (endothelial cells) help maintain a healthy balance of fluids within the cornea. Healthy endothelial cells prevent the cornea from swelling and help keep the cornea clear. But with Fuchs' dystrophy, the endothelial cells slowly die off, and probably do not function correctly, resulting in fluid buildup within the cornea (swelling or edema). This causes corneal thickening and blurred vision.

Fuchs' dystrophy can be inherited. The genetic basis of the disease is complex — family members can be affected to very variable degrees, and sometimes not at all.

July 22, 2014