How Serious is My Pet's Corneal Irritation?
A corneal irritation is painful. Without treatment, an irritated cornea can become infected, ulcerate, and cause blindness. However, if treated promptly, a corneal irritation can heal within a week.
What Happens if Dirt or a Foreign Body Scratches the Cornea?
Anything other than tears—grass awns, grit, eye lashes—that slides under the eyelids can scratch the cornea. Your pet's eye may automatically respond by making tears to flush out the foreign material. And your pet may rub his or her eye because it hurts. The eye becomes inflamed and white blood cells rush to help out. While inflammation in many parts of the body is helpful, inflammation in the eye can cause permanent damage. Your veterinarian will work with you to stop the inflammation.
On your way to the veterinary clinic, soothe your pet's eye with a cold, damp cloth or cool, moistened tea bag. If your pet is anxious, give a homeopathic anxiety medication, which will not interfere with any other medication your pet is taking, and will not interfere with an anesthetic—if that is necessary. We recommend HomeoPet Anxiety Relief for anxiety, and oral Traumeel, a homeopathic medication that stimulates the eye to immediately begin healing naturally.
What Happens When the Cornea Becomes Cloudy?
The cornea is normally clear because it is made of cells arranged in a neat, linear structure. When your pet's cornea is damaged, the cell membranes lose the ability to keep out water and the cells swell and become cloudy. Corneal cells can absorb enough water to be four times their original thickness. Swollen and damaged cells may not be able to maintain their linear structure and the crisscrossing of new cells creates cloudy scarring. Inflammation of the cornea is called keratitis. If the inflammation doesn't cause permanent damage, the cornea heals and remains clear. With permanent damage, the cornea may be scarred, covered with pigment, or infiltrated by blood vessels.
Eye Inflammation (Red or Pink Eye) for Other Reasons
Corneal irritation is not the only cause of pink or red eyes. Allergies also commonly cause this irritation. Rather than damaging the cornea, allergies stimulate inflammation in the conjunctiva, the thin mucous membrane on the inside of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis (pink eye), like corneal irritation, responds to a cold, damp cloth, but for the inflammation to resolve, your pet needs an environment free of allergens. Because the allergens can be inhaled or ingested, work with your holistic veterinarian to determine the cause. Your veterinarian may recommend a novel diet, Omega 3 fatty acids, an air filter, homeopathic eye drops, antihistamines, or topical steroids.