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Klinik für Augenheilkunde

Arbeitsgruppe Wacker

Kornea-Forschung und Fuchs-Endotheldystrophie

Dr. Katrin Wacker

My clinical and research interest is the anterior surface of the eye, the cornea. In our studies, we integrate methods from clinical, observational, and basic science research to discover and validate clinically relevant determinants of corneal diseases.


We aim to understand pathophysiology and optical changes in order to improve the outcomes of patients with corneal diseases. We have a special interest in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, the number one indication for corneal transplantation in the Western world.

  • Corneal pathophysiology and optics
    To make better treatment decisions, it is crucial to understand the underlying structural changes in the cornea, ensuing optical changes, and patients’ quality of vision. My research collaborators and I developed techniques to measure and compare standardized objective to identify and validate key parameters that will allow for standardized clinical evaluation and evidence-based treatment decisions.
  • Prediction of clinically relevant outcomes in endothelial keratoplasty
    While minimally invasive corneal endothelial transplantation techniques have evolved over the last decade, the understanding of ongoing remodeling of the cornea with disease progression and its routine evaluation lagged behind. In prospective studies, we assess how clinical and molecular measures can predict patient-relevant outcomes.
  • V-FUCHS, a validated and new Fuchs dystrophy-specific questionnaire
    When exactly to intervene surgically for Fuchs dystrophy is currently unclear. We developed and validated a new instrument to address disease-specific functional limitations in patients with Fuchs dystrophy. Our new Visual Function and Corneal Health Status (V-FUCHS) instrument is designed to validate patient-centered outcome measures and guide individualized treatment. V-FUCHS is available in English and German.

    Free Download of the V-FUCHS instrument (in English)(in German)
    Clinicians and investigators interested in using V-FUCHS, or in applying V-FUCHS to different languages, are welcome to contact us.

Selected References

  1. Fritz M, Grewing V, Lapp T, Maier P, Böhringer D, Reinhard T, Wacker K. Diurnal Variation in Corneal Edema in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy Am J Ophthalmology, 2019, Vol. 207:351-355
  2. Fritz M, Grewing V, Böhringer D, Lapp T, Maier P, Reinhard T, Wacker K. Avoiding hyperopic surprises after Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty in Fuchs dystrophy eyes by assessing corneal shape Am J Ophthalmology, 2019, Vol. 197:1-6
  3. Grewing V, Fritz M, Müller C, Böhringer D, Reinhard T, Patel SV, Wacker K. [The German version of the Visual Function and Corneal Health Status (V‑FUCHS): a Fuchs dystrophy-specific visual disability instrument] Ophthalmologe, 2020, Vol. 117(2):140-146
  4. Wacker K, Baratz KH, Bourne WM, Patel SV. Patient-Reported Visual Disability in Fuchs’ Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy Measured by the Visual Function and Corneal Health Status (V-FUCHS) Instrument Ophthalmology, 2018, Vol. 125(12):1854-1861
  5. Wacker K, McLaren JW, Kane KM, Baratz KH, Patel SV. Corneal hydration control in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (Open access) Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2016, Vol. 57(11):5060–65
  6. Wacker K, Baratz KH, Maguire LJ, McLaren JW, Patel SV. Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty for Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy: 5-year results of a prospective study Ophthalmology, 2016, Vol. 123(1):154–60
  7. Wacker K, McLaren JW, Amin SR, Baratz KH, Patel SV. Corneal High-Order Aberrations and Backscatter in Fuchs’ Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy Ophthalmology, 2015, Vol. 122(8):1645-52
  8. Wacker K, McLaren JW, Patel SV. Directional posterior profile changes in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (Open access) Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2015, Vol. 56(10):5904–11

Research Collaborators

Prof. Sanjay V. Patel, MD, FRCOphth, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN


  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation)
  • Hermann A. and Maria O. Nuss Foundation, University of Freiburg
  • Program for Clinical Studies, University of Freiburg, 2017, 2019
  • Berta Ottenstein Program for Clinician Scientists
  • Dr. Werner Jackstädt Foundation, 2014–2016

Principle Investigator

Dr. Katrin Wacker, FEBO


  • MD, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg 2006–2013
  • Thesis (Dr. med.), Immunological mechanisms and interventions to prevent corneal inflammation following keratoplasty in the rat model. University of Freiburg, 2013
  • Postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA, 2014–2015, 2016


  • Marianne Fritz, MD
  • Andreas Glatz, MD
  • Viviane Grewing, MD
  • Markus Gruber, MD
  • Katrin Wacker, MD
  • Cornelius Wiedenmann, MD
  • Daniel Zander, B.Sc., MD student
  • Stephanie Bixler, M.Sc. Augenoptik
    und Psychophysik
  • Claudia Müller, Augenoptikmeisterin