The Squinting Eye
The most common eye condition dogs present with at the clinic is squinting and almost 95% of the time the underlying reason for this is corneal ulceration.
Corneal ulceration is a defect in the thin, outer most layer of the eye called the cornea. To simply put it, it is very similar to a graze on your skin. This wound can be caused by different things for example; a stick poking into the eye, foreign bodies like barley grass, sand, cat claw grazing the eye and several more of which some can be very complicated.
Corneal ulceration is diagnosed by applying a drop of fluorescein to the eye. An ulcer will flare up bright green. This helps to determine the size and depth of the ulcer. It also facilitates visualisation of dead material as it is removed to make sure there is nothing that can harbour bacteria and dirt that will hamper healing.
Mostly these ulcers are superficial and uncomplicated in which case they heal quickly (5 days) with an appropriate ointment, but sometimes things are not quite what they seem and these cases can become difficult and time consuming to manage, especially if deep defects are present.
Your vet will also examine deeper structures of the eye especially if they suspect a penetrating wound into the eye. These are some of the more difficult cases to manage and often require an array of antimicrobials, ointments and anti-inflammatories, to treat both the ulcer as well as infection and inflammation of the deeper structures.
If your vet is worried about the severity of the ulcer they may even recommend surgery to perform a tissue flap procedure that will serve as a band aid whilst the cornea heals. Sometimes an initially uncomplicated ulcer can progress to this stage seemingly overnight. It is therefor important to have your dog or cat checked if you are concerned about corneal ulceration, then treat them as prescribed and be vigilant in monitoring their progress whilst on treatment so that intervention can be prompt in the case unexpected changes.
Feel free to contact a team member here at Vet Services for advice.