Merck Manual

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Prolapse of the Eye in Horses

By

Kirk N. Gelatt

, VMD, DACVO, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

Last full review/revision Apr 2019 | Content last modified May 2019

Severe prolapse (slipping out of place) and/or bulging of the eye can be caused by trauma. The chances of a good outcome depend on the severity of the injury, pupil size and reflexes, the condition of the eye and how long it was displaced, and other damage near the eye or to the body. Without its blood supply, the equine eye quickly becomes damaged. The eyeball should be put back in place surgically as soon as possible if the animal is in good enough health to have general anesthesia; the eyelids are then sutured together to protect the globe as swelling decreases. Treatment includes antibiotics (given by mouth or injection, as well as topical ointments or creams) to prevent infection. Occasionally other medications are needed as well. Vision returns in some, but not all, cases.

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