The Damage from Dry Eyes
If you’ve ever had a scratched cornea or eyelid, you know the misery it causes. Pets commonly acquire minor eye injuries, and their experience is similar to ours. Irritation and discomfort lead to frequent squinting, blinking and rubbing of the eye, and sometimes excessive tears or redness. There are numerous topical products to aid the healing process. Flushing the eye with an eye wash removes impurities and can help relieve discomfort. An ophthalmic ointment provides lubrication and protection for the eye.
While some maladies of the eye result from your pet’s everyday mischief, others are the result of health related conditions. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye) is a disorder of the tear glands that causes insufficient tear production and dry corneas. Dry eye can also result from an injury or from immune-related disease. In some cases, the cause of dry eye is simply unknown. No matter the cause, without treatment the cornea can become ulcerated and may lead to blindness.
There are several treatments for dry eye, depending on the severity and cause. Eye wash and ophthalmic ointment provide some degree of help, but precription strength cyclosporin ophthalmic ointment greatly improves results. Cyclosporin is an immunosuppressive drug. The discontinuation of cyclosporin for as little as 24 hours causes symptoms to reappear in 90% of dogs. This can be reversed by resuming treatment. When the diagnosis or proper course of treatment is in doubt, see your veterinarian.