The eye and its annexes (eyelids, third membrane, conjunctival cul-de-sac etc.) can present affections with variable seriousness.
They are most of the time benign: conjunctivitis (irritation of the conjunctiva around the ocular globe) or blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
These types of affections can lead to a redness of the eye as well as a draining.
This draining can be:
- tears (which we call epiphora). The owners say that the eye “cries cries cries”.
- mucus (the draining is more sticky and white)
- pus (in a bacterial infection)
Why and when clean the eye and eyelids ?
Cleaning is necessary to get rid of the dirt on the eye (dust, pollen grains, non perforating foreign body, irritating products etc…).
This is important for example after a walk.
Cleaning is also useful, and maybe capital to remove the draining and secretions that clutter the eye, before putting eyedrops.
In dogs and cats with a long coat, for which the eyes are irritated nearly all the time, by the rubbing of the hair, a regular irrigation of the eye with an ocular solution can allow to limit this inconvenient.
In order to humidificate and protect them, eyes produce tears that then run to the nose through the lacrimal canals (two small canals that start from the internal corner of the eye).
In many breeds, these canals are straight and the tears are easily evacuated. However,in other breeds, as for example the ones with a rounder skull (shih-tzu, yorkshire, bichon, pug), the canals are too curved and tears cannot run easily. The lacrimal canals are often clogged and tears run outside the eye, and form typical red or brownish tracks.
For all those reasons, eyes and eyelids require regular care for animals, using an adapted solution.
How can we clean the eyes and eyelids?
You can use an ocular solution adapted to cats and dogs: non irritative, it must have cleaning and antiseptic properties (such as CLYTOX R).
You can apply it directly on the eye, or you can also use gauze.
In order to use it directly, you only need to trickle a few drops of the solution on the surface of the eye by pressing softly on the bottle.
By using a gauze, you keep the soaked gauze on the eye. After a few minutes, the secretions are softened and can be removed.
It is advised to use gauze rather than coton on the eye: the coton risks to deposit fibres on the eye.
Why use a specific ocular solution to clean the eye?
The benefit of an ocular solution (compared to other cleaning solutions or even water) is that it is perfectly adapted to the specificities of the eye of your animal (pH of the tears etc.). On the other hand, it contains antiseptic products that destroy bacteria in contact with the eye that can potentially by pathogenous (antiseptics such as sodium borate and methylene blue).
Caution: it is not advised to use water, even boiled, as it is not isotonic to tears, with a pH not adapted and it risks increasing the irritation of the eye. In addition, it does not contain the antiseptic products of adapted ocular solutions.
What is a "trivial" conjunctivitis?
A trivial conjunctivitis is a simple inflammation. The eye is then irritated, red and produces more or less purulent tears and more of less fluid mucus.
The internal side of the eyelid is red. The animal can have its eyelids closed or half-closed, and refuse to open its eyes, especially when there is light. A trivial conjunctivitis can be associated to an inflammation of the eyelids called “blepharitis”.
When confronted to a simple conjunctivis:
You must clean the eye and eyelids using an adapted ocular solution, by trickling the product or using a soaked gauze, to remove the secretions and the causes of inflammation (dust, irritating products, foreign bodies, powders etc.).
Antiseptic eyedrops can then be prescribed for a few days. It is possible, with these simple principles, to heal many current problems, howevery consulting a veterinarian is essential as soon as there is a single doubt on the potential seriousness of the ocular affection.