Taking Care About Eyes

As a groomer you will have numerous opportunities to help your subjects by pointing out abnormalities to the owner or veterinarian.  Probably the most common disorder you'll see will be Epiphora - excessive tearing. 

 There are so many causes for the tears draining down the face that chapters could be written on just this topic!  Here's where your penlight comes in handy. Darken the room and shine the light along the edges of the eyelids and look for tiny eyelashes growing along the edges of the lids. If these tiny lashes are contacting the eye, there is the potential for serious corneal damage. Report this condition, called distichiasis, to the owner or veterinarian. Often the tiny openings, one in the inside corner of all four lids, will be under-developed or plugged up. Tear duct obstruction sometimes can be alleviated by using small amounts of an antibiotic called tetracycline. A veterinarian can evaluate tear duct flow under anesthesia.

Numerous other disorders such as entropion (rolling inward of the lid), follicular conjunctivitis, facial folds, or long hairs contacting the eye can predispose the dog to excessive or misdirected tears resulting in chronic wetness and a mucoid, crusty build-up on the face.

Clipping the hairs short if possible will make clean up or application of medication easier. Remember, though, to advise the owner to have the underlying cause determined by a veterinarian.  Mature cataract in teh eye of a Cocker Spaniel.

Inform the owner if you see cataracts in the eyes. Darken the room and shine your penlight directly into the front of the eye and look over the top of the light (as if you were aiming the light into the eye.) Deep in the very center of the eye the light passes through the pupil (the circular opening made by the colored part of the eye called the iris.) Just behind the pupil is the lens and the light should pass unreflected through the lens to the back part of the eye called the retina. If you see a milky or hazy object or reflective particles where the lens is, the dog may have some vision problems and you should let the owner know.

Be very careful about scratches on the corneas. Tearing and squinting are the most likely signals of corneal abrasions, and sometimes with the penlight directed at an angle, the abrasion or ulcer on the cornea is visible. Veterinarians will use a stain to highlight these areas.


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