Eye problems in animals are one of the most common things we see in practice. Any discolouration of your pet’s eyes is a potential emergency which requires immediate veterinary attention. Eye problems can occur as a result of injuries, infections, pressure changes inside the eye and tumours. Your pet’s eyes could also be affected by some systemic diseases. The skin around your dog’s eyes can cause damage to the cornea if the hairs are irritating the eye. This condition might need corrective surgery.
An eye examination involves checking the eyes with a light, measuring the eye’s pressure with a tonometer which can aid in diagnosing glaucoma, staining the eye with a dye to check for ulcerations of the cornea and measuring tear production. We also perform conjunctival grafts for corneal ulcers. Other surgeries include entropion correction, ectopic cilia , eyelid tumour removal, corrective eyelid surgery, grid keratectomy, third eyelid flap, cherry eye reduction, nasal fold resection, enucleation and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Blue discolouration of the cornea is a common complaint. The causes can be corneal ulcers, glaucoma, epithelial dystrophy, systemic viral infections (distemper), keratitis (infection of the cornea) infection inside the eye called uveitis and trauma. A blue eye could be an ocular emergency, so bring your pet in as soon as possible.
There are two different conditions that can cause a cloudy (pearly) eye in an old animal. One is Lenticular sclerosis, and the other is Cataracts. Lenticular sclerosis is considered a normal change in old animals where the lens becomes hardened with age. Animals can usually see normally even if they have Lenticular sclerosis. Cataracts have various causes, but in old animals it can be caused by lens fibres that degenerate. Cataracts unfortunately result in vision loss of some degree to total blindness as they progress. Removing them requires special equipment that is only available at a Veterinary Ophthalmology Specialist facility. Cataracts can also be caused by medical conditions like Diabetes. Please bring your pet for and eye exam and a glucose test if you think he has cataracts.
Excessive tear production can be the result of corneal ulcers, blocked tear ducts, infection ( conjunctivitis), foreign bodies inside the eye eg. plant husks, thorns, hair, inflammation of the eyelids, eye infections, allergies and infection in the tear duct system.
Entropion is a very common disorder in breeds like Chows, Shar-Peis, Rottweilers and Spaniels. The surgical correction involves full anaesthesia with resection of the excess skin directly around the eyes. Absorbable sutures are placed around the eyes, which can take up to 4 weeks to dissolve. Your dog will get a collar to prevent him from scratching his eyes after the surgery.
Corneal ulcers can be very superficial and easily treated, or can be so severe that they can perforate which can cause the loss of the eye. They are also extremely painful. Superficial ulcers are usually treated with antibiotic drops, and atropine drops which help for the pain. Deeper ulcers require diligent treatment to prevent them from perforating, usually we recommend hourly eye drops. Serum is usually added to the treatment regime. If the ulcer is so deep that there is a risk of perforating we perform a conjunctival graft to prevent this.
Your puppy might be suffering from entropion. This is a congenital condition which usually occurs in Shar-Pei puppies. We usually place some temporary sutures in the eyelids to roll the eyelids outwards. This prevents the hair on the eyelids scratching the cornea. The sutures are left in for as long as possible, but they usually need to be replaced until the puppy is old enough to have an entropion operation. Some puppies do not need the operation after tacking. The goal is to prevent permanent damage to the cornea.