Fuchs' Friends

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: I have just been told that I have Fuchs, what should I do?

A: The most sensible thing to do is to locate a cornea specialist who can determine what stage of the disease you are in and advise you of your options. And, you should join our Fuchs Friends support group.

Q: I was told that someday I will probably need a cornea transplant. What is a cornea transplant?

A: A cornea transplant is the replacement of your cornea with a cornea from a human donor. A cornea transplant is done as an outpatient procedure, often under local anesthetic. Recovery from the surgery is quick, sometimes just a few days. However, healing of the transplant can take up to 1 year or even longer. During that time vision frequently changes.

Q: After transplant, what kind of vision can I expect?

A: The first thing you will notice is that colors are bright and everything appears to be in high contrast. It is common for a transplant recipient to have astigmatism and other irregularities in the vision that are a result of the surgery and the stitches used to attach the cornea.

Q: I have both Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy and cataracts. Can I have cataract surgery?

A: If you have cataracts and Fuchs, you must see a corneal specialist who can evaluate whether it is possible to do cataract surgery. Very often, a very careful surgeon can do the cataract surgery and enable transplant surgery to be delayed for several years.

Q:"I would like to know approximately how long from the time of diagnosis of Fuchs for most members to finally having a transplant."

Q:"I was wondering if the fuchs disease ALWAYS gets progressively worse until the only cure is a transplant or does it sometimes stay pretty much the same?"

Q:"What is the 'typical' rate of advancement of this disease? I realize that it varies considerably between folks but a ballpark indication would be appreciated."

A: There is no reliable timetable for Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy. Progression, change or lack thereof is not predictable and seems to be arbitrary.

Fuchs moves slowly most of the time. In Dorothy's case it took over 20 years from first signs to transplant. However, some members had the transplant within 5 years, and some developed blister pain and had the transplant within months. The rate of progression varies from person to person. Even corneal specialists don't want to try to predict it.

Those who are in the earliest stages of corneal dystrophy are doing nothing for it, because they have no symptoms. Those in the "glare" stage use many types of sunglasses and sunvisors/hats. Those in the "cloudy" stage are often prescribed Muro ointment or drops. Those whose vision decreases past their ability to work or function, whose lives are severely hampered--or those who develop the painful blisters--get a corneal transplant, which nowadays is over 95% successful.


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