Descemetorhexis Without Grafting for Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy—Supplementation With Topical Ripasudil

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To report the safety and efficacy of descemetorhexis without grafting as a primary intervention in Fuchs dystrophy, and the use of a ROCK inhibitor, ripasudil as a salvage agent in failing cases.


Twelve eyes of 11 patients underwent central descemetorhexis not exceeding 4 mm. All had Fuchs dystrophy–producing visual symptoms, requesting intervention. Exclusion criteria were a peripheral endothelial cell count <1000 and central edema. Corneal clearance and visual parameters were recorded monthly until corneal clearance was observed, then at intervals of 6 months. Cases failing to clear by month 2 were considered for salvage treatment. This consisted of treatment with 1 of 2 formulations of Rho-associated kinase inhibitor eye drops. Endothelial keratoplasty was planned as the final salvage procedure in unsuccessful cases.


Nine of 12 eyes cleared spontaneously between 2 and 6 months. One eye failed to clear by month 5 and topical Y-27632 was administered, without success. Endothelial keratoplasty was performed. In 2 eyes, healing stalled at 3 and 2 months. In both cases, topical ripasudil administered 6 times a day for 2 weeks resulted in complete corneal clearance. In cases achieving corneal clearance, best spectacle corrected visual acuity improved from a mean of 0.26 to 0.125 (logMAR) with subjective improvement in quality of vision.


In Fuchs dystrophy with visual degradation due to central guttae, descemetorhexis without grafting is a viable procedure for visual rehabilitation. Careful patient selection is required, but the advent of topical ripasudil as a salvage agent suggests that a broader application of the surgery may be possible. Further study into the use of this agent is now needed.

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