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Eyelid Lacerations

By Kirk N. Gelatt, VMD, DACVO, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

Eyelid lacerations should be reapposed as soon as possible. Lacerations involving the lid margin require exact apposition to prevent longterm v-shape defects and an impaired lid function. Small dogs and cats require a single layer of sutures (usually single interrupted 4-0 silk sutures), whereas large and giant breeds require a two-layer closure; the deep layer involves the tarsus and orbiculis oculi muscle (single interrupted 4-0 absorbable sutures) and the superficial layer (skin) apposed with simple interrupted 4-0 silk sutures (remove after 7–10 days). Horses require double-layer closure. When skin sutures are in place, the lid must be protected from self-trauma by either an Elizabethan collar (dogs and cats) or hard eye cup (horses). Because the blink response is often impaired by the swollen lid, a temporary tarsorrhaphy is necessary to protect the cornea. Postoperative therapy often includes topical antibiotics and corticosteroids, as well as systemic antibiotics and NSAIDs.

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