Fuchs Eye Disease – Symptoms, Causes, and Natural Treatment for Thickened Cornea

Fuchs corneal dystrophy is a genetic disease that affects the cornea. Although the patient is born with the condition, it is not detectable until middle age or later. Dystrophy is more common in women than men, affecting approximately 4 percent of people over 40 in the United States.

Fuchs disease causes impaired vision and discomfort in the eye. Usually, it affects both eyes, but the vision in one eye may be worse than the other. The condition may go unnoticed for years before the vision worsens, especially in the first stage. The first stage is characterized by hazy morning vision, as the fluid builds up during sleep but dries out while you are awake.

In the second stage, the blurry vision does not clear up, and blisters can be formed on your cornea. When they break open, they can cause eye pain. So, symptoms worsen over time.

This text will explain everything about the disease, its symptoms, causes, and natural Fuchs dystrophy treatment, including acupuncture, micro acupuncture 48, Chinese herbal therapy, and nutritional supplements.

What You Need to Know

  • What is Fuchs Dystrophy?
  • Fuchs Dystrophy Symptoms
  • Fuchs Dystrophy Causes
  • Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy Treatment
  • Alternative Treatments for Fuchs Dystrophy

Fuchs Dystrophy Specialists Near Me: Call Makari Wellness at (888) 871-8889

Makari Wellness offers integrated and individualized Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment that will address the unique needs of patients with Fuchs’ dystrophy. We provide several different treatment programs depending on the patient’s condition, constitution, and the severity of the Fuchs’ dystrophy symptoms.

Our unique treatment plans may include acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, micro acupuncture 48, acu-laser therapy, auricular acupuncture, and many others. What is important, 85% of our patients experienced some vision improvement.

Here at Makari Wellness, you can also book telemedicine consultations. These consultations can be extremely convenient if you live far away from our San Diego or Oceanside eye clinics or do not want to come due to the COVID pandemic. Try video face-to-face consultation from anywhere and save on travel expenses.

What is Fuchs Dystrophy?

Fuchs endothelial dystrophy is a genetic eye disease where cells lining the inner surface of the cornea slowly start to die off. The condition usually affects both eyes.

First, let’s explain how the cornea works. It is a clear coat in the front of the eye and contains three layers – epithelium, stroma, and endothelium. Epithelium acts like a barrier protecting the cornea from debris, dust, and bacteria. The stroma as the middle layer is made of mostly collagen and gives the cornea shape and strength. The endothelium is a layer that provides the appropriate fluid balance in the cornea, making it crystal clear and thin.

In patients with Fuchs dystrophy, the endothelial cells start deteriorating and form tiny bumps called guttae. The surrounding cells cannot function properly, so they cannot keep up with pumping fluid. The cornea begins swelling, becomes cloudy and thicker, resulting in vision problems. In advanced stages, tiny blisters can form on the corneal surface, which can be painful. It is important to seek immediate treatment before severe progression.

Fuchs Dystrophy Symptoms

The symptoms of Fuchs dystrophy develop in two stages:

Fuchs Dystrophy Stage 1

In the early stage (stage 1), you may notice hazy vision upon awakening. Still, it can improve throughout the day because fluids from the eye normally evaporate.

Fuchs Dystrophy Stage 2

In the later stage (stage 2), the blurry vision upon awakening does not improve during the day. Too much fluid builds up during the night, and not enough dries up during the day. Also, tiny blisters may form in the cornea; they can get bigger and eventually break open, causing eye pain. Some other symptoms may include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye pain
  • Gritty-like feeling in eyes
  • Cloudy vision
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort in bright light
  • Low vision in humid weather
  • Night vision problems
  • Poor contrast in colors
  • Halos and/or glares around bright lights, especially at night.

Fuchs Dystrophy Causes

The deterioration of the endothelium cells causes Fuchs corneal dystrophy. However, the precise cause of this cellular destruction is not clear. This condition may be genetic, so if someone in your family has it, the risk of developing a disorder is greater. Also, it is more common in women than in men.

Researchers have identified several genes responsible for Fuchs dystrophy, like mutations in a gene called COL8A2, inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Still, the condition may occur even in people without a known family history of the disease.

Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy Treatment

The early stage of dystrophy is treated with saline eye drops that pull out moisture (hypertonic sodium chloride 5%). The late stages often require a cornea transplant. There are two types:

  • Penetrating keratoplasty – also known as full transplant and involves the surgical removal of the central two-thirds of the damaged cornea and replacement with the healthy donor tissue. The healthy donor cornea is held in place with an average of 16 sutures. Still, the healing time may last up to a year. The patient must be extremely careful with the eye and ensure that the wound does not rupture. Also, there is a risk of graft rejection.
  • Endothelial keratoplasty – this is a newer technique (DSEK, DMEK, DWEK, or DSAEK), where the surgeon replaces only the inner layer of cells. This surgery leads to faster recovery and fewer complications.

Alternative Treatments for Fuchs Dystrophy

Traditional Chinese Medicine may be the last and only hope for vision recovery when modern medicine has nothing to offer. It may include several modalities like acupuncture, micro acupuncture 48, Chinese herbal therapy, and nutritional supplements.

It is an ancient system of health and wellness that looks at the patient’s entire well-being. The idea behind TCM is based on harmony, energy, and balance. There are two central ideas: Qi and Yin and Yang.

Qi, also called vital or life energy runs throughout the body. It is always on the move and constantly changes, so TCM treatments often focus on ways to maintain and promote the flow of Qi.

Yin and Yang are complementary opposites that describe the qualities of Qi. The balance of those opposites is the key to feeling well and healthy. If they are out of balance, you feel sick. TCM aims to create harmony in your body and a healthy flow of Qi.

Acupuncture for Fuchs Dystrophy

One of the primary modalities of TCM is acupuncture. It involves the placement of thin needles at specific points in the body. It seeks to release the flow of Qi by stimulating acupoints along 14 energy pathways called meridians.

Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities and promotes physical and emotional well-being. Some of the most common acupoints used for Fuchs dystrophy include:

  • UB-1 or Jingming, meaning “bright eyes,” is located in the inner corner of the eye. This point helps with eye problems such are blurry vision and night blindness.
  • UB-2 or Zanzhu can be found in the crease at the inner end of the eyebrow and is used when the patient complains of pain, blurred vision, eye twitching, and tearing.
  • Yuyao or Fish’s lumbus is located in the middle of the eyebrow right above the pupil. It is used to treat the cornea’s cloudiness, redness, eye pain, swelling, eye strain, and glare sensitivity.
  • GB-1 or Tongzilia is a point on the outside corner of the eye. It helps treat eye pain, light sensitivity, and eye redness and is thought to brighten the eyes.
  • SJ or Sizhukong is an acupoint located in the hollow area at the outer part of the eyebrow. It is shown to help treat blurred vision, often present in Fuchs dystrophy.

Another available procedure is Micro acupuncture 48, an ophthalmic form of acupuncture that involves the 48 acupoints that can be found on hands and feet. It is a staple treatment protocol in treating degenerative eye conditions such as Fuchs dystrophy.

Chinese Herbal Therapy for Fuchs Dystrophy

According to TCM, the eyes are connected with all internal organs, especially the liver. It is said that ‘liver opens to eyes.’ We can unblock the liver meridian and nurture eyes with a unique blend of herbs with specific properties. Some of the widely used supplements for Fuchs dystrophy are:

  • Chrysanthemum flower clears the liver, decreases excessive tearing, clears floaters and cloudy vision.
  • Chinese Wolfberry fruit corrects cloudy vision and vision loss; it acts on liver and kidney deficiencies of Qi.
  • Milk Thistle has amazing antioxidant properties and is widely used for liver detoxication.
  • Buddleia flower bud improves light sensitivity and excessive tearing.
  • Turmeric, with its active component Curcumin, reduces oxidative stress and thus improves overall eye health.
  • Green tea is rich in antioxidants like Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and vitamin C, which are beneficial for eye health.
  • Bilberries contain substances that help eyes adjust to various light levels and mostly help with night vision.
  • Grapeseed extract is full of phytochemicals that are good for the all-around health of the eyes.

Nutritional Supplements for Fuchs Dystrophy

Having a well-balanced diet is a base for a healthy vision. Some easily available food that nurtures eyes is rich in minerals and vitamins beneficial for eye health. This usually includes:

  • Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining a clear cornea.
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin help filter potentially harmful UV rays.
  • Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can protect the eyes from free radicals.
  • Riboflavin or vitamin B2 is an antioxidant that has the potential to reduce oxidative stress in the body, including the eyes.

These supplements may be beneficial in slowing down the symptoms of various eye diseases, including Fuchs dystrophy. If you suspect you are missing any of these vitamins and minerals in your diet, you may need to take them in the form of pills or tablets.

Diet for Fuchs Dystrophy

Corneal thickening is a serious and progressive disease. Although it cannot be prevented, patients with a high risk of Fuchs dystrophy should eat a healthy diet rich in leafy green vegetables (for example, Brussel sprouts and broccoli), walnuts, eggs, salmon, carrots, and sweet potatoes.