Dry Eye Awareness
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is caused by destruction of the tear glands by the dog’s own immune system. This means that not enough tears are produced.
Damage to the tear glands is irreversible, and eventually they are completely destroyed. Dry eye is a painfulcondition and ultimately leads to permanent blindness.
Why is loss of tears so important for Dogs?
Natural tears are essential for healthy eyes. They have many important functions which are lost in dry eye: they carry vital nutrients and oxygen, lubricate and cleanse the eye, and help protect against infection.
Without tears the eye becomes very dry and uncomfortable. Eye infections and ulcers become more common, and growth of new blood vessels and pigmentation can develop on the surface of the eye. Eventually these changes can lead to permanent blindness.
Dry eye is quite common – 1 in 22 dogs are affected. All breeds can develop dry eye at any age but some are more prone. These breeds include Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Shih Tzus, West Highland White Terriers Pekinese, Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs and Bulldogs.
What are the signs to look out for?
- Uncomfortable eyes – your dog may rub the eyes, blink excessively or keep the eyes closed.
- Eyes red and inflamed.
- Discharge from the eyes.
- Dry looking eyes.
- Frequent eye infections or corneal ulcers.
The test for dry eye is very quick and is not uncomfortable for your dog. Book a free appointment with one of our qualified vet nurses and put your mind at rest.