What is Fuchs endothelial dystrophy?

Fuchs endothelial dystrophy is a degenerative condition of the innermost layer of the cornea, the endothelium, usually affecting individuals older than 50 years. The endothelial cells decrease in number and do not pump fluid out of the cornea efficiently.

This results in a gradual reduction in the quality of your vision, glare at night, fluctuation in the sharpness of vision and in advanced stages the eye may become painful and gritty.

What is Descemets stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK)?

Endothelial keratoplasty, including Descemets stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK), is currently the gold standard in the management of Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and bullous keratopathy. It involves the selective replacement of the dysfunctional inner layer of the cornea with a thin layer of transplant cornea that has healthy endothelial cells.

DSEK has several advantages over full thickness penetrating keratoplasty (PK) including:

  • keyhole surgery allows faster improvement in vision

  • surgery is carried out under local anaesthetic and in less than an hour; the risks of a general anaesthetic are thus avoided

  • reduced risk of serious complications

  • reduced risk of needing high-power glasses or contact lenses after surgery