A corneal ulcer is a circular erosion that may reach deeper layers of the cornea.
Typical symptoms of a corneal ulcer are an increase in watering and reddening of the eye. Due to pain and irritation the animal blinks continuously or might even hold their eye shut completely. Extensive ulcers cause clouding of the cornea. The rough edges of the erosion may even be visible with the bare eye.
Corneal ulcers are often caused by small trauma or scratches to the cornea. Bacteria may enter the lesion and provoke an infection that leads to further destruction of tissue. Water is drawn into the irritated cornea and makes it appear cloudy. Ulcers can also result from genetic defects that cause different layers of the cornea to be insufficiently attached. This condition is often seen in Boxers.
Depending on the condition of the corneal ulcer, extended treatment with eyedrops alone may prove effective. If necessary, corneal debris can be removed surgically. If no improvement is achieved, a nicitans flap may be applied. The third eyelid is sutured across the lesion and left in place for a number of days in order to enhance the healing process.
If you suspect a corneal ulcer, consult your veterinarian.