Diagnosing dry eye in pets: ‘It’s a no-brainer’

October 22, 2020
Erica Tricarico, Senior Editor
Erica Tricarico, Senior Editor

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Caitlin McCafferty, Assistant Editor
Caitlin McCafferty, Assistant Editor

Veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Ron Ofri explains how to identify signs of dry eye, plus how to best diagnose this uncomfortable condition.

When it comes to diagnosing dry eye, there are several nonspecific and specific signs to look for, says Ron Ofri, DVM, PhD, professor of comparative ophthalmology at the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Rehovot, Israel.

“You get secretion, you get conjunctiva, a little congestion, and corneal pigmentation vascularization,” says Ofri. “All of these are really nonspecific signs of inflammation.”

One specific sign of keratoconjunctivitis or dry eye, he says, is a dull-looking cornea. “You can really see that it is not as reflective.”

Dry eye also has a very typical history, he explains. For example, owners will often tell him that their dog had a history of inflammation and was prescribed eye drops, but as soon as treatment ended, the inflammation came back.

Ofri also emphasizes that any dogs presenting with red eyes, discharge, and any eye discomfort, should take a Schirmer Tear Test. This 2-minute test produces visual results that you can then share with their owners, he says.

In the video below, Ofri offers additional insight on how to diagnose dry eye in pets.