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Fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy is a condition associated with a faster than normal rate of corneal endothelial cell death. The endothelial cells are the innermost layer of the cornea, and are important in preventing corneal swelling. If enough of those cells die, a patient’s cornea can thicken and become clouded. Because cataract surgery is also associated with increased endothelial cell death, Fuchs’ dystrophy does marginally worsen in every patient undergoing cataract surgery. However, only a small percentage of patients will notice a change in their vision. In those patients with already advanced Fuchs’ dystrophy, the additional cell death associated with cataract surgery can be enough to create persistent corneal edema with attendant visual changes. Your ophthalmologist should be able to give you a good idea about whether cataract surgery is likely to result in a clinically significant deterioration in your Fuchs’ dystrophy.
Answered by: James M. Heltzer, MD
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Answered: Dec 10, 2013
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