Corneal ulcer

Jackie Boy is an 8 year old Quarter Horse gelding that was referred as an emergency to the Camden Equine Centre early May 2015 for an acutely sore left eye. A detailed ophthalmic examination by the equine internal medicine specialist Liz Tee at presentation revealed a large and deep corneal ulcer in the centre of the left eye. A fluorescein stain test revealed the ulcer to be almost to the depth of the Descemet’s membrane. The cornea was also soft and malacic.

Aggressive medical therapy was initiated with every 2 hour medications via a subpalpebral lavage system. Unfortunately, the corneal ulcer deteriorated with progressive keratomalacia. A second detailed ophthalmic examination revealed rupture of the corneal ulcer with an associated iris plug.

Surgery was scheduled immediately due to the serious nature of the problem and the fact that it the eye had ruptured. Under a general anesthetic the eye was examined closely and it was determined that although there was a small rupture present, due to the requests of the owner to try and save the eye, a conjunctival graft be placed. Marta Wereszka, one of the specialist surgeons working that day performed the surgery. She firstly was able to carefully dissect a bridge of conjunctiva to cover the rupture. Not only does this provide support but it introduces and encourages blood vessels where we need healing to occur. Surgery went very well and after three days the graft was still very much intact and so a plan was made to send ‘Jackie Boy’ home for continual treatment.

A visit out to see Jackie Boy at home ….. weeks after the initial surgery showed a healthy graft, a healing eye and miraculously the possibility that Jackie Boy will actually have vision from the eye.