Merck Manual

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Professional Version

Eyelid Lacerations in Small Animals


Sara M. Thomasy

, DVM, PhD, DACVO, Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, and Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis

Reviewed/Revised Mar 2020 | Modified Nov 2022
Topic Resources

Eyelid lacerations should be repaired as soon as possible. Lacerations involving the lid margin require precise apposition to prevent longterm notch defects and an impaired lid function. A two-layer closure is recommended in all species, with the deep layer involving the tarsus and orbiculis oculi muscle (interrupted horizontal mattress 3-0 to 6-0 absorbable sutures) and the superficial layer (skin) apposed with a figure of eight suture at the eyelid margin followed by simple interrupted sutures using 3-0 to 6-0 silk. The skin sutures should be removed after 7–10 days. When skin sutures are in place, the lid may need protection from self-trauma by either an Elizabethan collar (dogs and cats) or hard eye cup (horses). Because the blink response can be impaired by the swollen lid, a temporary tarsorrhaphy may be necessary to protect the cornea. Postoperative therapy often includes topical antibiotics as well as systemic antibiotics and NSAIDs.

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