Dr. Belmont, the Upper East Side’s LASIK eye surgeon at Belmont Eye Center performs successful corneal transplants on patients with certain eye diseases for which less invasive corrective eye surgery is no longer an option. One of the diseases that may necessitate a cornea transplant is Fuch’s Dystrophy. Belmont Eye Center hopes to educate patients by providing useful information about diseases like Fuch’s.
WHAT IS FUCH’S DYSTROPHY?
Fuch’s Dystrophy is a slowly progressing eye disease that tends to affect both eyes, and is slightly more common in women than men. Patients with Fuch’s can be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist as early as their 30’s or 40’s, but vision can remain unaffected until patients reach their 50’s or 60’s.
WHAT DOES FUCH’S DYSTROPHY DO?
This eye disease occurs when endothelial cells gradually deteriorate. Endothelial cells are a thin layer of cells (the endothelium) that line the back of the cornea. The cause of the deterioration is unknown, but as endothelial cells are lost over a period of many years, the endothelium becomes increasingly less efficient at pumping water out of the stroma, the middle layer of connective tissue that forms 90% of the cornea. This decline in efficiency leads to corneal swelling which distorts the vision. In progressed cases, the epithelium absorbs water, resulting in pain and more severe visual impairment. The epithelial swelling caused by Fuch’s Dystrophy damages vision by changing the cornea’s natural curvature and causing a vision impairing fogginess to appear on the tissue. This swelling can produce small blisters on the corneal surface which are extremely painful and prone to infection without proper treatment. Although palliative measures can be taken, when the disease progresses causing the cornea to lose its clarity due to edema (swelling due to the accumulation of fluid), vision impairments will prohibit normal activities of daily life, and a cornea transplant may be necessary to restore sight. Dr. Belmont at Belmont Eye Center has many years of experience performing corneal transplants as Carnegie Hill’s LASIK eye surgeon and will educate you on the necessary steps for managing Fuch’s Dystrophy and other eye diseases. For more information about eye diseases, LASIK surgery, corneal transplants, or the services at Belmont, call (212) 486-2020.