Animal eye injury

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Updated: 3/25/2003 3:34 pm
One of the most common eye problems among animals is injury to the cornea (KOHR-nee-uh), the eye's transparent outer layer. This may occur if the eye is scratched, when bits of grass become lodged in the eye, or foreign matter blows into the eye. Signs of corneal irritation include a red, watery eye; swelling; and pawing at the eye. Minor irritation can often be treated by flushing the eye with a solution of one teaspoon salt dissolved in a cup of purified, room- temperature water. Use a cotton ball to squeeze a stream into the eye until the solution flows out. If the eye doesn't improve within a day, have a veterinarian take a look. When damage is severe, the animal will probably keep the injured eye closed. In such cases, see a veterinarian right away. Prompt treatment can prevent permanent harm. Other eye injuries may involve trauma with a sharp object, with surgery needed to retain vision. In small, flat-faced dog breeds like the pug, a blunt trauma to the head can actually cause the eyeball to dislodge from the socket. While alarming, this condition can often be repaired if you act quickly. Stay calm and call a veterinarian for instructions. In many cases, the eye can be surgically repositioned.

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