For large corneal wounds surgery will be required to suture the cornea with the aid of the operating microscope. In most cases dissolving sutures will be used, so there will be no need for suture removal.
Following such injuries our main concerns are:
Antibiotic drops will be required, and in some cases tablets will also be used. At the time of surgery, injections of antibiotics are usually injected onto the eyeball. Please call Animal Eye Care immediately if you notice any increase in discharge from the eye.
Uveitis - inflammation in the eye
The eye can overreact to injuries to the cornea. The uveitis can cause damage to the eye even when the corneal injury is healing well. This inflammation can potentially cause vision loss, retinal detachments, cataracts, glaucoma, adhesions of the iris, and colour changes to the eye. The uveitis is treated with an anti-inflammatory. In some cases atropine may be used to dilate the pupil.
The lens sits just behind the iris (the coloured part of the eye). With a corneal laceration or any penetrating injury to the eye, the lens can be ruptured. If this occurs the lens will become cloudy as a cataract develops. The development of the cataract causes a very severe uveitis, which cannot be treated or even controlled with medications.
It may be difficult initially to tell if the lens has been ruptured, it may take 3 to 10 days for a cataract associated with the lens rupture to develop.
CORNEAL LACERATIONS & PENETRATING INJURIES
If the lens is ruptured the only way to save the eye and vision is to surgically remove the ruptured lens. This is done by phacofragmentation (small incision cataract surgery), in which we use ultrasound energy to break up the lens/cataract. The shattered lens is removed through a 3mm incision. If this surgery is done before severe damage has been done to the eye, the eye and vision can be saved. In some cases it is also possible to insert an intraocular lens (IOL - plastic replacement lens) into the eye. Without a lens the close up vision out of the eye is usually poor, but long to mid distance is normal.
Following surgery, the cornea usually heals quickly. In some cases the corneal healing may become excessive with blood vessels and other scar tissue developing on the cornea. This excessive reaction can usually be quickly resolved with drops and or tablets.