Equine Eye Vets      Veterinary Eye Care for Horses in Texas  


Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea of the eye.  This may be infectious as in ulcerative keratitis (a corneal ulcer) due to viral, bacterial or fungal infections or may have no infectious agent associated with the inflammation.  Various types of non-infectious keratitis have been described in the horse, although our understanding of these diseases is less in the horse than in people or some other domestic species.

 Eosinopihilic keratitis or keratoconjunctivitis is a corneal inflammatory disease in which multifocal small superficial ulcers are accompanied by pink white raised and vascular tissue which invades the cornea from the conjunctiva.  The condition may be variably painful.   The cause is still unknown.  The condition is diagnose based on the appearance and scrapings taken from the affected area of cornea for cytological examination.  Cytology reveals numerous white blood cells dominated by eosinophils - a cell type associated with parasitic infestations and an overactive immune response (hypersensitivity reaction).  Immunosuppressive therapy is effective in treatment the disease.

 Immune-mediated keratitis (IMMK)
 is a poorly understood group of inflammatory diseases of the cornea seen in various parts of the world.  It may appear affecting the cornea is various forms - partly depending on the depth of the corneal layers affected.  Generally IMMK presents as a relatively non- painful condition confined to the cornea (the absence of inflammation within the eye or uveitis is typical).  The cornea becomes opacified by cellular infiltrates, fluid (edema) and new blood vessel growth.  Treatment of the more superficial forms of these diseases can be quite successfully either surgically or with prolonged medical therapy. Deeper forms of the disease are generally less amenable to treatment. 

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