Franklin Vets Blog

Equine eye conditions

August 7, 2019

Horses have 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. 

Eye ulcersHorse eye conditions

Eye ulcers, or a small scratch to the surface of the eye, are one of the most common eye problems in horses. These are incredibly painful, and signs of pain include holding the eye shut, excess tear or discharge production, and swelling around the eye. It is critical to call your veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these signs as this is considered an emergency. Most eye 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 loss of the eye. 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.


Cataracts are another common problem in horses. Signs of cataracts include spookiness, jumping poorly, etc. It is not normally a painful condition so there will not be swelling or squinting associated with it unless there is another concurrent condition. Horses of all ages can be affected by cataracts as there are many different causes. Cataracts can eventually progress and cause blindness.


Uveitis is another condition that commonly affects horses. It is inflammation in the eye, and signs of this include excess sensitivity to light, squinting. Uveitis is tricky to notice and diagnose as horses affected by this often go through periods of a few weeks where they are painful, followed by periods of apparent comfort. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this can lead to blindness. If your horse is prone to uveitis, it is important that he or she wears a fly mask with a high UV protection rating when out in the sunlight.

Your veterinarian can perform a thorough eye exam on your horse, whether it be to diagnose cataracts, uveitis, or other conditions, or help with the treatment and management of a swollen eye. Give us a call today at 09 238 2471 to talk about any concerns you have with your horses’ eyes.