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Corneal ulcers part 2: aetiology and management of deep corneal ulcers

02 July 2021
11 mins read
Volume 12 · Issue 6
Figure 1. A deep corneal ulcer or descemetocele in a canine patient.


Corneal ulceration is one of the most common ocular problems presented in first opinion practice. Ocular diseases in dogs can be distressing for both the patient and owner, registered veterinary nurses can provide advice to distressed owners and ensure that patients are provided with evidence-based and holistic care. This is the second-part of a two-part series which focuses on the aetiology of corneal ulcers and the role of registered veterinary nurses within ocular diseases.

The second part of this two-part series of articles aims to discuss deep corneal ulcers including descemetoceles, a condition where the basement membrane of the endothelium (the Descemet's membrane) becomes exposed. Descemetoceles can protrude through the cornea and pose an imminent risk of corneal perforation, with leakage of aqueous humour and collapse of the anterior chamber (Figure 1, Aldridge et al, 2013). A number of factors and existing ophthalmic conditions can predispose a patient to corneal ulceration including; keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), eyelid malformation or dysfunction and various forms of trauma (Table 1). Unfortunately, with exception to traumatic ulcers, most corneal ulcerations have an underlying pathogenesis such as KCS, eyelid malformation or conditions such as entropion or distichiasis. Treatment of the underlying cause will inevitably reduce the risk of further corneal ulceration and improve the patient's quality of life.

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