cornealulcerCorneal ulceration is one of the most common ocular diseases leading to loss of vision in companion animal practice.

Causes

The most important step in the development of a deep corneal ulcer is the adhesion of bacteria to the cornea. For this to occur the epithelial cells, or outermost cells of the cornea, must be damaged. There are several potential causes for such damage including foreign bodies, trauma, extra eyelashes and abnormal eyelid conformation.

Signs

Superficial corneal ulcers are generally very painful, but the pain may disappear if the ulcer extends deeper into the cornea. The cornea can become very cloudy in appearance and the blood vessels around the eyeball may become congested.

Progression of ulcers

A corneal ulcer becomes complicated if healing is prevented by the persistence of the initial cause or by the invasion of bacteria that secrete enzymes that promote corneal destruction. It is very important to examine an eye with a corneal ulcer very carefully to ensure that there is nothing contributing to the further damage of the cornea.

Treatment

If the underlying cause can be treated, for example electroepilation of extra eyelashes, this should be done otherwise the ulcer will not heal. If ulcers are superficial, they are most often treated medically. Deep ulcers require microsurgery to support and protect the cornea.