Corneal Ulcer, Abrasion, and Laceration

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The cornea is the clear surface of the eyeball (where a contact lens would be worn in humans). Like skin, this eye tissue can be damaged by scratches, scrapes or cuts.
 

Infection and other risks 

These injuries are usually very painful and have the potential to become infected.  Serious damage or infection can cause permanent corneal scarring, injury to deeper tissues of the eye, permanent vision loss and even loss of the eye itself. To that end, if your pet has suffered from an eye injury, we urge you to seek immediate veterinary care.

Common signs of corneal damage include:
  • Excessive blinking
  • Squinting
  • Discharge
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Rubbing at the eye
  • Cloudiness
  • Other unusual appearance to the corneal surface
Wounds may be visible in the corneal surface, or a history of possible eye damage such as scratches (especially from cat claws) or running through brush may exist. There may also be a history of other eye problems.

Diagnosis is based on symptoms, examination findings and eye tests. Often, a special dye is placed in the eye to detect corneal damage.

Treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. Mild to moderate corneal injuries are often successfully treated with medications and an Elizabethan (cone shaped) collar to prevent rubbing at the eye. Serious deeper, slow healing or infected wounds can require surgical treatment, additional medications or a visit to a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Prompt treatment is very important for all eye injuries. This can make the difference between successful healing or permanent vision loss.
 

Important Points

  • Use all medications as prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him/her rechecked if there are any concerns.
  • An Elizabethan (cone shaped) collar is often necessary & important to prevent further eye damage.
  • Have your pet rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian.

Learn More

If you have questions about eye injuries, or any other emergency situations, please visit your emergency care section where you can find articles like the ones listed below. If you need immediate help, please contact your nearest Banfield Pet Hospital.