A closer look: Cloudy Eye (Corneal Edema) in Horses
When any cloudiness is observed in the eye of a horse, prompt veterinary care is important, especially if accompanied by signs of pain. Quick diagnosis and initiation of treatment is paramount to ensure there is no further damage to the eye.
Both the area of cloudiness in the eye, and color of the cloudiness itself may vary based on the condition. For example, an ulcer may present with a small cloudy area, whereas glaucoma may cause cloudiness of the entire eye. While cloudiness is often white or gray in color, a blue hue may also be observed.
Cloudiness is observed in a wide variety of conditions involving the eye.
Cloudy eyes are secondary to almost all eye conditions seen in horses, and is therefore a common symptom. It is important to note that the amount of cloudiness observed does not necessarily reflect on the severity of the underlying condition.
Testing and diagnosis
Diagnosing the cause of cloudy eyes begins with a patient history and thorough ophthalmic examination including fluorescein staining.
Most eye conditions can be diagnosed with careful examination of the eye, however further testing may include:
- Eye pressure testing
- Fungal or bacterial culture
Treatment depends on diagnosis of the condition, and may include:
- Immune-mediated medication
- Antibiotics or antimicrobials
- Steroid eye drops
- Enucleation (removal of the eye)
- Other eye-sparing surgeries of the eye
With conditions such as scarring, cataracts and mild keratopathies (conditions affecting the cornea), treatment may not be necessary and instead, monitoring for further changes is warranted.
There are no other symptoms that can be mistaken for cloudiness, however it is important to visualize the cloudiness in good light to ensure it is not just a light artifact.