• What percentage of people with Fuch's Dystrophy will need surgery?


    Question:

    What percentage of people with Fuchs’ dystrophy will need surgery?


    Answer:

    While there have not been any large-scale studies looking at how many patients with Fuchs' dystrophy (when cells in the cornea die off prematurely, causing cloudy vision) will require a surgical procedure over their lifetime, I would make an educated guess of around 30 percent.

    In general, this is difficult to study because the number of people with Fuchs’ is different among various groups of people. Also, how this disease is diagnosed can vary among doctors, and treatments change over time.

    In one large study of 16,535 people with Fuchs', 6 percent of patients ages 65-88 (992 people) needed a corneal transplant over a 6-year period. Most patients getting a corneal transplant for Fuchs' would fall into this age group since this is when most people require cataract surgery (which is a major reason for needing a corneal transplant in a patient with Fuchs'). In the lower age group of 44-64, the rate was 5 percent over the six-year period. The same rate was approximately 3 percent in the patients with Fuchs' below age 44. Keep in mind these numbers probably do not reflect the true rate of corneal transplantation for Fuchs' since many patients are not diagnosed with the disease until they develop symptoms.

    Based on what I see in my practice, I would approximate the rate of needing a surgical procedure for Fuchs' at about 30 percent over a patient's lifetime.


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