Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is the most common primary corneal endothelial dystrophy and the leading indication for corneal-endothelial transplantation worldwide.

FECD is an age-related disorder that affects a large number of people, especially women, over the age of 40 and is characterised by the progressive decline of corneal endothelial cells and the formation of extracellular matrix outgrowths called guttae, leading to corneal oedema and vision loss.

As the disease progresses, symptoms of Fuchs’ dystrophy, usually affecting both eyes, may include the following:

  • Blurred or hazy vision, sometimes described as a general lack of clarity of vision.
  • Fluctuation of vision, with worse symptoms in the morning upon awakening and progressively improving during the day. As the disease progresses, blurred vision may take longer to improve or may not improve at all.
  • Glare, which can reduce vision to dim and bright light.
  • Display of halos around lights.
  • Pain or galls from small blisters on the surface of the cornea.

Normally, the cells that line the inside of the cornea (endothelial cells) help maintain a healthy balance of fluid inside the cornea and prevent the cornea from swelling. But with Fuchs’ dystrophy, the endothelial cells progressively die or malfunction, resulting in fluid accumulation (oedema) within the cornea. This causes corneal thickening and blurred vision.

Results from miRNA expression profiling in FECD endothelial cells demonstrates widespread miRNA downregulation in FECD that may be associated with increased subendothelial extracellular matrix accumulation.

Fuchs’ dystrophy is usually inherited. The genetic basis of the disease is complex: family members may be affected to varying degrees or not at all.

It affects approximately 4% of the population over 40 years of age, and much more women than men.

The company doing research in the field of this disease isArthex Biotech.