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Eyes: Taking the long view

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Eyes: taking the long view!

Have you noticed that your pet’s eyes are dull, sticky or have a mucus discharge? Is there a reddening of the white parts of the eye or the membranes surrounding the eyes? If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, you should take them for a check up with your vet at the earliest opportunity.

Whilst in many cases it may be a simple case of conjunctivitis which will clear up fairly quickly with the appropriate treatment, a more serious problem that is seen fairly commonly in dogs is ‘dry eye’.

The importance of tears…

Healthy eyes should be bright, clear and free of excessive tears. Tears play a very important role in keeping your pet’s eyes healthy as outlined below.


Dry eye is caused by a reduced or total lack of tear production. Tears lubricate the movements of the eyelids and provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea (the clear outer part of the eye). If untreated, the eyes gradually become more and more inflamed as they are unable to cleanse and lubricate properly with insufficient tears. This can become painful and affected dogs often rub at their face causing further inflammation and can eventually result in a loss of their vision.

Early diagnosis is the golden rule with eyes! The good news is that a diagnosis of dry eye can be made with a simple test to measure tear production. Medication, usually in the form of an ointment, can improve tear production and reverse the signs of dry eye, maintaining vision and keeping pets comfortable.

If you have any concerns regarding your pet’s eyes, make an appointment with your vet to have it checked out.


Chris Devlin is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.
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