The cornea is the outer clear layer of the eye providing a window through which light may pass. It is composed of many thin layers just like a stack of notebook paper. The healthy cornea is normally very resistant to infection.
If an injury occurs which damages the cornea, it may allow bacteria to penetrate, causing an infection in the deeper layers of the eye.
A corneal ulcer is an erosion through one or more layers of the cornea, starting from the outside and going inside the eye. Rapid deterioration of the cornea may result leading to very serious disease and blindness. The scientific name for this condition is “ulcerative keratitis.”
Symptoms Of Corneal Injuries:
Corneal ulcers result in
- eyelid spasms,
- sensitivity to bright light, and
- discharges from the eye.
Blindness can result if not treated properly.
Diagnosis Of Corneal Injuries:
Sometimes the corneal wound cannot be seen with the naked eye. A special stain must be dropped in the eye to aid diagnosis. This is the primary reason most veterinarians do not like to dispense eye medications without first examining the eye. If the wrong type medication is used, an eye infection may get worse, possibly leading to blindness!
Treatment Of Corneal Injuries:
Various types of ophthalmic ointments or drops are used to treat corneal injuries.
Antibiotic ointments and/or drops are frequently used to control infection.
Atropine ophthalmic ointment or drops may be prescribed by your dog's veterinarian as well, in order to dilate your dog's pupil and prevent adhesions from forming between different parts of your dog's eye.
For severe infections or injuries which penetrate deep into several layers of the cornea, surgery may be necessary to save the eye. Surgery may require creating a protective covering for the eye and/or debriding and repairing the corneal injury.