When a dog presents with ocular pain, irritation and inflammation, the veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination, as well as a neurologic and ophthalmic examination to assess the dog’s vision and visual reflexes. She will probably assess intraocular pressure to rule out glaucoma, and may take samples for culture and sensitivity in case infection is present. Application of topical fluorescein dye is one of the most conclusive diagnostic tests for corneal ulcers. The damaged corneal tissues will pick up the dye, making diagnosis quite easy and allowing the veterinarian to assess ulcer depth. A Schirmer tear test may also be recommended to measure aqueous tear production. Many times, corneal ulcers can be seen without any special diagnostic tools or techniques. They appear as dull spots, or dish-like depressions, on the outer surface of the eye ball.
Ulceration or abrasion of the cornea requires veterinary attention. Even simple corneal ulcers can rapidly become complex, deep injuries that can ultimately lead to blindness. Eye injuries are always serious. If owners suspect that their dog is experiencing impaired vision or has other signs of damage to the eyes, a quick trip to the veterinary hospital is necessary.