Causes of Corneal Irritation
Corneal irritation generally occurs when something gets into the pet’s eye. This can be bacteria, viruses, dust particles, your pet’s own hair, or even the wind. Pets that enjoy sticking their heads out of windows when riding in cars are more prone to corneal irritation. Similarly, hunting dogs have a tendency to irritate their corneas when moving through tall grass and brush.
There are also certain breeds of dogs and cats that are more susceptible to corneal irritation. Those with bulging eyes and flat noses, for example, are more prone to irritation because their eyelids do not completely cover their eyes. These dog breeds include Boxers, Pekingese, Bulldogs, and Pugs. Persian and Himalayan cats also have problems with corneal irritation.
The Role of the Cornea
The cornea is the clear layer that covers the front of an eyeball. It is made of special cells and is important to the overall health of the eye because it provides protection. When the cells of the cornea become damaged, it can take a full week for the new cells to grow.
Although the cornea provides a protective barrier, it is still quite sensitive. Since it needs to remain clear for proper vision, it does not have blood vessels to provide it with nutrients and oxygen. Instead, it relies on tears to help in this area. Tears also remove waste for the cornea. Although the cornea does not have blood vessels, it does have several nerve fibers. As a result, the cornea is very sensitive.
The cornea is the area of the eye that is most often affected by disease. Infections such as toxoplasmosis and herpes can cause damage to the cornea, as well as glaucoma. Special eye drops, however, can be used to assist with glaucoma and infections of the eye.
The Effects of Scratches
On a good note, the cornea is fast to heat. This means it usually does not take too long for your pet’s eye to get better after the cornea has been scratched or irritated. At the same time, the entire ordeal can be very painful to your pet. And, if it is not treated properly, the cornea can become infected.
Generally, your pet’s eye will tear up if a foreign substance enters it. This is its way of trying to clean out the object. Your pet might also rub its eye, which is not good because this can cause the eye to get scratched. If you notice that your pet’s eye seems to be irritated, help wash it away with eye drops. If the eye becomes inflamed, however, you should see the veterinarian right away because inflammation can lead to permanent damage.