What is dry eye?
Dry eye – or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca- meaning inflammation of the cornea and surrounding tissues as a result of drying.
There are multiple reasons why dry eye may occur – these conditions result in lack of tear production resulting in dry eye:
- Immune-mediated – meaning the immune system is reacting inappropriately to the tear-producing glands
- Systemic Disease – Canine Distemper/ Feline Herpesvirus – these are uncommon as these are vaccinated against.
- Medications – long-term use of some antibiotics can occasionally result in dry eye.
Dogs and cats will have red, painful eyes. They will often squint and blink frequently and have a thick mucousy discharge over their eyes.
Often affected animals will develop corneal ulcers as a result of poor tear production protecting the cornea
Diagnosis is confirmed through a Shirmer Tear test – whereby a strip is placed on the surface of the eye and the amount of tears produced over a certain time is measured.
Are certain breeds more likely to develop KCS?
Yes, these breeds include:
- American cocker spaniel
- Boston terrier
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- English bulldog
- English springer spaniel
- Lhasa apso
- Miniature schnauzer
- Shih tzu
- West highland white terrier
- Yorkshire terrier
Treatment is aimed at stimulating tear production and replacing tears as well as treating any existing infection/ulceration. This is via ointment/drops placed topically on the eye as prescribed by the veterinarian.