Can you imagine how maddening it would be to have something in your eye and not be able to rub, scratch, or pick it out? Well, your furry pet, with their furry paws, certainly can. Without a safe or effective method for removing debris from the eye, your pet could be in danger of developing bigger issues. That’s why we see pet eye care as a critical part of overall wellness.
Eye to Eye
When you look into a normal pair of pet peepers, you should see the following:
- Cornea – the outer surface of the eye
- Sclera – the white of the eye
- Lens – located directly behind the cornea
- Pupil – the centered black opening of the eye that contracts/dilates
The pink membrane in the corner of your pet’s eye is actually a third eyelid that offers additional protection. Most breeds also have a snug-fitting lower lid covering the white part of the eye.
A healthy cornea is nourished by a tear film that collects in the lower lid and drains through the tear duct into the nose. Pets with shorter noses typically have larger eyes, so it’s tough to keep the entire surface of the eye clean and moist. With a smaller lower lid to collect tears, they spill off onto the fur around the eyes.
In breeds of all kinds, excessive tearing can stain the fur near the corners of the eye. This staining can appear in hues ranging between red and brown. It can be difficult to remove and may cause irritation to the eye. Other problems related to excessive tearing include:
- Moist dermatitis in the nasal folds
- Conjunctival pigmentation as a result of the white area of the eye being exposed to air for long periods of time
- Non pigmented eyelids reflect more light, resulting in the production of more tears
Pet Eye Care at Home
No matter the shape, size, or condition of your pet’s eyes, it’s a good idea to routinely check them at home using these tips as a guide:
- Daily pet eye care involves keeping eyes clean and dry using a soft tissue or vet-approved eye wipes (mucus buildup can lead to infection).
- Trim the fur around the eyes to prevent corneal scratching. If you’re uncomfortable with this task, ask your vet or groomer for help.
- Nasal folds should be wiped down before applying a moisture barrier to the skin.
- Limit time spent in direct sunshine so non pigmented eyelids don’t react.
When it’s More Serious
Redness, discharge, and swelling are obvious signs that pet eye care must be addressed. Eye infections, lenticular sclerosis, glaucoma, and cataracts aren’t uncommon problems, and any visible symptoms should be tended to promptly. Many issues can be easily diagnosed after an ocular examination and specialized diagnostics. Please contact your vet if you observe:
- Excessive eye rubbing with paws or on furniture
- Bulging eyeball
- Dilated pupil
- Cloudy look to the eyes
The Long Run
A major component of your pet’s routine wellness exam, pet eye care hinges on a preventive approach. Early detection and immediate treatment of any problems is essential. Please contact us if we can be of any assistance.