Opthalmic Surgery

Surgery can also help resolve several problems related to the eyes.

1. Grid keratotomy for Non-Healing (‘indolent’) Corneal Ulcers

An ulcer develops when part of the surface layer of cells (known as the corneal epithelium) becomes damaged, exposing the underlying tissue (the corneal stroma). The eye becomes painful and cloudy, and the white of the eye may become reddened and inflamed. Most corneal ulcers will heal rapidly within a few days, as the epithelium regenerates from the edges of the ulcer and spreads across the defect. However, in some dogs this healing process does not occur and they go on to develop a Indolent ulcer. This type of corneal ulcer is shallow and non-infected but fails to heal.

The aims of treatment are to remove the loose epithelium and to encourage newly formed epithelium to anchor to the underlying cornea. Using a small needle, scratches are made on the ulcerated region of the cornea. This treatment has a 60-70% success rate per procedure, and can be repeated every 2-3 weeks until healed.

2. Conjunctival Flap or Graft Procedure

The conjunctiva is the pale pink tissue that covers the ‘white’ of the eye. It is a thin, strong tissue containing many blood vessels. These properties make it a useful graft material for corneal ulcers. Conjunctival pedicle grafting is performed with the aid of an operating microscope. A strip of conjunctiva is freed and rotated so that it covers the ulcer, then stitched into position using very fine dissolvable suture material. The conjunctival graft provides a blood supply and physical support to the ulcer to allow it to heal.

3. Cherry Eye

Cherry eye in dogs, known scientifically as a prolapse of the third eyelid gland, is a treatable condition that occurs most commonly in young dogs.

Treatment involves surgical replacement of the third eyelid gland. It is important to treat the condition as soon as possible in order to minimize permanent damage to the eye or third eyelid gland. This is critical because the third eyelid gland produces up to fifty percent of the watery (aqueous) portion of the tear film. Without adequate tear production, your dog is much more likely to develop “dry eye,” which can seriously impair vision.

4. Eyelid abnormalities in dogs – Entropion and ectropion

Entropion and ectropion are conditions that involve the eyelids. With an entropion the eyelids roll inward and rub against the cornea of the eye. This can cause a great deal of discomfort for the dog. Ectropion is the opposite of entropion, the eyelids droop exposing the cornea. These conditions are more common in dogs then cats. Entropion can be a congenital defect but can also occur following trauma, painful corneal lesions, and conjunctival inflammation. Ectropion is considered normal in some breeds but can also develop in senile dogs that lose muscle tone and can also be seen in dogs that had an entropion over corrected.

Treatment is always surgical.

  • Entropion – Many times the surgery to repair an entropion involves removing an elliptical piece of tissue directly under the eye, the two sides are sutured together pulling the affected eyelid down. Antibiotic eye drops or ointments may be sent home following the procedure..
  • Ectropion – The technique involves a “V” or “Y” incision to shorten the lid.