Corneal Ulsers

  • Corneal ulcers are very serious and if you suspect your animal has any discomfort associated with the eye, you should see your vet immediately. 

  • Corneal ulcers can develop if the surface of the cornea is damaged. 

  • The most common cause of corneal ulcers is trauma to the eye, but they can also occur secondary to other conditions such as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye), entropion or infection. 

  • Corneal ulcers can be incredibly painful.


The vet will use a coloured dye called fluorescein to check for any damage to the cornea, grossly the eye may appear slightly cloudy, but this is not always the case so ensure your dog’s eyes are checked by the vet. 


If the deepest layer of the eye is affected a descemetocele can develop, this is very serious and there is a risk the eye may rupture and irreversible damage to the eye can occur. If caught early enough then referral to a specialist surgeon may be possible.


Clinical signs of a corneal ulcer


  • Blepharospasm (squinting of the eyes) 

  • Rubbing the affected eye 

  • Neovascularization (the eye may look ‘bloodshot’) 

  • In some cases, you may be able to see a slight crater in the eye 


Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these signs. 


Treatment of corneal ulcers will usually require a combination of treatments: 


  • Antibiotic drops are usually required, these are generally applied every 4-6 hours but follow your vets advice 

  • Lubricant drops are often used 

  • Pain relief is also important for managing corneal ulcers 

  • Surgery may be required for corneal ulcers which aren’t healing

Get a printable version here

This advice is for UK pets only.Written by vets. Please always seek advice from your own veterinary surgeon if you have concerns about your animal, never try to treat an animal yourself or give any medication without veterinary supervision.