Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Some nonsurgical treatments and self-care strategies may help relieve your Fuchs' dystrophy signs and symptoms. If you have severe disease, your doctor may suggest surgery.

Medications and other therapies

  • Eye medication. Your doctor may prescribe eyedrops or ointments to help reduce the amount of fluid in your cornea.
  • Soft contact lenses. Your doctor may suggest you wear soft contact lenses. The contacts act as a "bandage" to relieve pain by smoothing out microscopic swelling on the surface of the eye.


Most people who have surgery for advanced Fuchs' dystrophy experience much better vision and remain symptom-free for years afterward. Surgical options include:

  • Replacing the inner layer of the cornea. This is the first-choice option for people who have decided on a surgical solution. Two techniques your doctor may consider for you are Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) and Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK). Only the back of the cornea is replaced with healthy tissue from a donor. These procedures are usually done with local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.
  • Transplanting the entire cornea. This surgical procedure, known as penetrating keratoplasty, replaces the full-thickness cornea with a healthy one from a donor. This procedure is not used much anymore for Fuchs’ dystrophy. But it might still be the best choice in some cases.

Experimental treatments

Clinical trials involve studies of new ways to diagnose or treat a condition. They don't always offer a definite diagnosis or cure. But they may allow you to benefit from the latest knowledge about Fuchs' dystrophy. Ask your doctor if you're eligible for any clinical trials.

July 22, 2014