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All animals can suffer with conjunctivitis. This is inflammation of the outer layers of the eye known as the conjunctiva. It can occur for many reasons including:

  • – Bacterial infection
  • – Viral infection
  • – Trauma
  • – Dry eye
  • – Cherry eye
  • – Corneal ulcers
  • – Glaucoma
  • – Contact with caustic or irritant substances e.g. bleach or sand
  • – Anatomical deformities such as entropion (eyelid rolls into the eye) or ectopic cilia (hairs growing into the eyes)

The conjunctiva is highlighted in the diagram by the green lines.

eyeConjunctivitis can be very painful and if left untreated can cause further more severe eye problems and loss of vision.

Signs of conjunctivitis include:

– Blinking more

– Discharge from the eye

– Excess tearing

– Red whites of the eye

– Rubbing the eye

– Swollen eyelids

schirmerIf your pet has an eye problem there are certain tests we do to work out what is going on. The sooner they are treated the better and more likely to get full resolution.

The vet will look with an ophthalmoscope into the eye to check the retina where the light sensitive cells are.

The vet may use some local anaesthetic drops to help make the eye more comfortable for examination.

They will look at the eyelid margins to look for any in-growing hairs/eyelashes or lumps. And to look at the conformation of the eyes i.e. to see if there is inward rolling or outward rolling of the eyelids.

The vet will look with an ophthalmoscope into the eye to check the retina where the light sensitive cells are.

Sometimes a ‘Schirmer tear test’ is required. This is a test strip that is placed in the eye for 1 minute to assess whether there is a lack of tear production which may be dry eye.

fluroesceinSometimes an orange dye called fluorescein is used to establish whether there is damage to the surface of the cornea. If there is damage then the damaged area will retain the dye and highlight the area.

In few cases a sterile swab is required to send to the laboratories to culture what bacteria or viruses are present.

Glaucoma is common in animals and to test for glaucoma we use a ‘Tonopen’, which is a small device that can measure the pressures of anterior chamber of the eye.

Depending on the results of this test then eye drops and pain relief may be administered to make your pet more comfortable and treat the problem.

In more severe cases your pet may be referred to a specialist ophthalmologist for further tests.

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