Ophthalmic Exam

First view the animal directly.  Make sure both eyes are of equal size and prominence.  Watch for any evidence of visual impairment.  Assess the horse’s expression.  Look for any signs of asymmetry or irregularity of the eyelids or the globe.  Also note any abnormalities in the skin around the eyes and any facial asymmetry.  The horse should be examined for any ocular discharge. The nasolacrimal duct opening can be seen near the mucocutaneous junction inside the nostril.  It is especially important to check whether this is present in young animals presented with a complaint of excessive tearing; congenital malformation can result in an imperforate duct.  In older animals the duct may become obstructed even if a puncta is visible.
Color of the conjunctiva and also more detail of the lids can be examined by carefully everting the eyelid. Intraocular pressure can be grossly examined by lightly palpating the globe through the eyelid.  The index and middle finger are gently applied to the globe and the fingers are moved back and forth so as to indent and feel the change in pressure in the eye.  Obviously, this will only detect a gross decrease or increase in intraocular pressure.  The opposite eye should always be compared.  Obviously, this test should never be performed on an eye that is very painful or in danger of rupturing.

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Copyright 1999-2001
New Bolton Center Field Service Department
Students:  Keith Javic - Class of 2003, C. Nikki Conroy - Class of 2003