PURPOSE: The goal of this study was to investigate diurnal changes in intraocular straylight in relation to other corneal parameters and subjective complaints in patients with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and healthy controls.
METHODS: This is a prospective study conducted in 2 tertiary care hospitals in Germany and the Netherlands. Patients with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy (n = 71) and healthy controls (n = 34) were included. Patients with Fuchs dystrophy were grouped by the presence of subjective complaints and measured over multiple time points during the day. Measurements included intraocular straylight using the C-Quant and corneal thickness and backscatter using a Scheimpflug camera. A separate group of healthy controls was measured intensively with repeated straylight measurements directly after waking. An exponential decay model was used to model the diurnal change.
RESULTS: Healthy controls showed an average straylight baseline of 1.17 log(s) with an increase in straylight after waking of 0.22 log(s). In the repeated measurements subgroup, the increase in morning straylight lasted for 22 minutes. Patients with Fuchs dystrophy showed a morning increase in straylight of 0.21 log(s) present up to 4 hours after waking before reaching an average baseline of 1.30 log(s). Straylight was positively correlated with anterior corneal backscatter, r = 0.21, P = 0.022, and corneal thickness, r = 0.46, P < 0.01.
CONCLUSIONS: Healthy eyes experience a diurnal straylight increase similar to patients with Fuchs dystrophy in intensity. However, in Fuchs dystrophy, the resolution of increased straylight is prolonged over multiple hours compared with minutes in healthy eyes. This suggests pathological exacerbation of a physiological diurnal change. This mechanism can play a role in subjective complaints experienced by patients with Fuchs dystrophy.