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If Your Pet is Pawing at Her Eyes or Squinting, This Could Be the Reason

By Dr. Becker

The cornea is the outermost covering or layer of your dog's1 or cat's eye2.

All other parts of the eye, including the iris and pupil, lay behind it.

The cornea is transparent and admits light into the eye.

It also serves as a barrier to protect the inside of the eye from bacteria, chemicals, foreign objects – anything that could cause damage and interfere with vision.

The cornea is actually composed of four layers.

The outermost layer is the epithelium.

Below the epithelium lays the basement membrane.

Next is the stroma, which comprises most of the thickness of the cornea.

The innermost layer is called Descemet's membrane.

Causes of Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers are wounds to the cornea usually caused by an abrasion, scratch, puncture or other trauma to the eye.

Other causes can include a foreign body in the eye, a chemical burn, infection, lack of adequate tears, inability to completely close the eyelids, entropion (where the eyelid folds inward), disease, and facial nerve paralysis.

These ulcers, sometimes called ulcerative keratitis, are a common eye injury in dogs and cats.

They can cause a great deal of irritation and discomfort for your pet.

A corneal ulcer can involve one layer up to all four layers. A mild or superficial ulcer involves just the epithelium. Ulcers are considered severe or deep when they also impact the middle and innermost layers of the cornea.

Superficial ulcers result in loss of a part of the epithelium. Deeper ulcers involving the stroma can cause significant scarring and perforation of the cornea.

When an ulcer extends through the stroma to the Descemet's membrane, a condition known as Descemetoceles, the problem is quite serious and can result in perforation.

The location of a corneal ulcer depends to some extent on what is causing it. An ulcer caused by trauma to the eye, dry eyes, bulging eyes or a paralyzed facial nerve are most often located in the center of the cornea.

If there is foreign matter trapped beneath the third eyelid, the corneal ulcer is usually seen toward the inside of the eye near the nose.

If there is entropion or a wayward eyelash rubbing against the eye, the ulcer will often be seen in the peripheral cornea.

An immune-mediated disease of the eye can cause ulcers at the borders of the cornea.

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Click on the link to continue reading.

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/02/22/pets-red-eye-may-be-corneal-ulcer.aspx

 

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