Objective: To evaluate the quality of vision (visual acuity and straylight) in patients with Fuchs dystrophy and the improvement in visual quality after Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK).
Methods: There was an observational case series (Amsterdam group) and a prospective interventional case series (Mayo group). Corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA), straylight, and corneal thickness were measured in patients with phakic and pseudophakic eyes with Fuchs dystrophy recruited at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (99 eyes), and at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (48 eyes). The Mayo group was also examined at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after DSEK; all these eyes were rendered pseudophakic during DSEK.
Results: Eyes with Fuchs dystrophy had decreased CDVA (mean [SD], 0.42 [0.26] logMAR; Snellen equivalent 20/53) and increased straylight (mean [SD], 1.54 [0.24] logarithm of the straylight parameter) compared with normal eyes. Younger patients were affected more by increased straylight than by decreased CDVA. Corrected distance visual acuity (r = 0.26; P = .003; n = 135) and straylight (r = 0.26; P = .003; n = 133) were correlated with corneal thickness. Corrected distance visual acuity and straylight improved at all postoperative examinations (P < .001), and improvement in straylight from before DSEK to 12 months after DSEK correlated with recipient age (r = -0.43; P = .01; n = 33). Improvement in straylight was more predictable than that of CDVA and was associated with preoperative straylight more than 1.33 logarithm of the straylight parameter.
Conclusions: Quality of vision is severely impaired in patients with Fuchs dystrophy and improves significantly after DSEK. Straylight improves more in younger than in older eyes after DSEK. Preoperative straylight can be a useful clinical metric to predict postoperative improvement, especially in cases where preoperative visual acuity is close to 20/20.