Boris, is a mature 9 and a half years old Miniature Bull Terrier who has been visiting us for many years. Recently Boris developed sore red eyes with a mucous-like discharge and came to see Dr Seina.
On examination, Boris' eyes were red and sore with thick and ropey discharge. Dr Seina performed a test called a schirmer tear test which assesses the quality and quantity of tears that the eyes produce. Boris' left eye produced 2mm of tears and his right eye 4mm of tears in 1 minute. Normal levels are generally greater than 17mm in 1 minute. If there is inadequate tear production the eyes get sore, dry and painful, almost like having sandpaper rubbed across them. If left untreated changes to the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) can occur, some of which can be permanent and cause blindness.
This condition, KCS or Dry Eye as it is commonly known, is most commonly caused by an abnormal reaction by the immune system which results in inadequate tear production. Tears are crucial in that they provide lubrication to the surface of the eye. Treatment most commonly involves long term eye drops, the goal of which is to supplement the tear film, stimulate tear production, cleanse the eyes and prevent changes to the cornea which may impede vision.
Boris started on a medication called cyclosporin, and was monitored closely. At first he had a slow response to the medication but with some minor changes to the concentration of his drops he started to improve and at his last visit his eyes were back to producing normal levels of tears again. He is pain free and luckily his dry eye was noticed early so he doesn't have any permanent cornea damage. He will require life long medications for his eyes, but with his good response and with ongoing careful observations from his doting parents he has a good prognosis.