You definitely shouldn’t ignore a horse that appears to have an eye problem. Most conditions are very painful! Your horse is also at risk for hurting themselves if they can’t see properly. Make sure you know the most common eye conditions, so you can treat them right away.

Top 6 Eye Problems

1. Ulcer

Ulcers in the eye are caused by an infection, foreign material, or physical trauma to the eyeball. In these cases, the front surface (cornea) is damaged. Your horse will likely be in a lot of pain. They’ll keep their eyelid partially open and the eye will seep. The cornea may also appear cloudy.

Keep your horse in a dark stable until the vet arrives. They’ll likely prescribe ointment to be administered every few hours. If not treated, the ulcer can lead to blindness!

2. Conjunctivitis 

Common in the summer, flies and wind can cause irritation to the eyeball. Many white horses with open eyes experience this condition. Discharge and a reddening of the conjunctiva are clear indicators. In most cases, both eyes are affected.

Ointment may be necessary, but oftentimes the condition clears up on its own. Make sure to keep the flies away.

3. Blocked Tear Duct

If the tear duct becomes blocked, your horse may experience an overflow of discharge from one or both eyes. The liquid will run down the side of their nose. The horse will need to have their tear duct flushed by a vet.

4. Trauma

Swollen eyelids, discharge, and swelling around the eye are indicators of trauma. Your horse may have been kicked or ran into something. Even minor trauma can lead to infection and vision impairment. Your horse should be seen by a vet immediately!

5. Cataract

The lens becomes cloudy and has an increase opacity. This condition can lead to full or partial blindness. Once diagnosed, equine cataracts becomes worse over the years. Your vet may suggest removing the cataract through surgery.

6. Acute Blindness

Developing quickly over a few hours or days, acute blindness can be from a number of things. Some include trauma, glaucoma, uveitis, retinal detachment, and CNS diseases. Your vet should be able to identify the reason.

Eye problems in horses are not something to mess with! At the first sign of trouble, contact your vet. They’ll be able to diagnose the severity of the situation.

For another interesting read, head over to ‘Understand How Your Horse Sees‘.