A horse’s vision is essential. They rely on their monocular vision to see danger and react quickly.
Their almost 360-degree field of vision allows them to constantly scan the environment for possible threats and their binocular vision allows them to focus on an object in front of them such as an upcoming jump.
Any injury to an eye can be devastating to a horse as they lose awareness of their surroundings. Eye conditions can deteriorate rapidly in horses going from mild to severe within hours. They are also incredibly painful. Signs of pain in a horses’ eye include holding the eye shut, producing a lot of tears and swelling around the eye. It is critical to call your veterinarian as soon as you see any of these signs.
Corneal ulcers are the most common eye problem in ulcers. Most corneal ulcers are easy to deal with but if left untreated it can quickly become infected which will make the problem more severe and may result in blindness.
Melting ulcers can occur from certain bacteria that produce enzymes that destroy the stoma. These ulcers can become large very quickly and have a jelly or melting appearance. If left untreated, the eyeball may rupture.
In summary, eye injuries in horses are considered emergencies and need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. It is essential that the eye has been properly examined before anything is put onto the surface of the eye, as the wrong treatment can cause severe deterioration and worsening of the condition. Always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned and never self-treat an eye condition.