Pet Eye Medications: Glaucoma

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What is inflammation in your pet’s eye?

Many animals can suffer from allergies or diseases that affect their eyes. As a result, they may suffer from inflammation of the conjunctiva, the moist tissue that covers the eye. Eye inflammation can be caused by many different sources such as bacteria, viruses, allergies, cancer, and others. Conjunctivitis, or eye inflammation, can affect dogs and cats and may be detected according to many symptoms: squinting or frequent blinking, redness, discharge from the eye, swelling, etc. Talk with your veterinarian if you believe your pet may be suffering. There are many treatment options available depending on the source of the inflammation.

Blepharitis, inflammation of the eyelid, can also occur in pets. It can be detected as scaly, flaky skin near the eye with intense itching and scratching. Watery mucus or pus may drain from the eye. This can be seen with or without conjunctivitis and has similar causes.

What is glaucoma in the pet’s eye?

Glaucoma is different than eye inflammation but also can occur in dogs and cats. Glaucoma is a disease of the eye with excess pressure in the eye. Excess pressure is a result of too much fluid known as the aqueous humor within the eye. Aqueous humor is a fluid that the eye makes in order to transport nutrients and to maintain the shape of the eye. Glaucoma may be caused by a blocked drainage of the fluid which can lead to a buildup of pressure within the eye. Bulging eyes are often a sign of this pressure buildup. Other signs may include excess squinting or rubbing, watery discharge that is usually clear, or a cloudy or bluish color to the eye. Unfortunately, glaucoma is not a curable disease. Glaucoma often begins in one eye and may spread to the other eye over time and eventually may lead to blindness if the pressure isn’t reduced. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any bulging or signs of glaucoma in your pet’s eyes.

What tests will your pet’s veterinarian perform?

It is important to talk to your veterinarian if you suspect your pet is suffering from inflammation of the eye. They can help determine the cause of inflammation by doing a full examination of your pet’s eyes. The veterinarian can detect foreign materials, test any discharge for bacteria, and also detect any scratches to the eye using a fluorescein stain. He may also need a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count to rule out certain infections. Glaucoma is detected by measuring the intraocular pressure (IOP) within the eye and an internal eye examination using special instruments. There are many treatment options available.

What treatment options are available for your pet?

The treatment option will be selected after the source of the inflammation is determined and will be based on the cause of inflammation. If your pet has a bacterial infection, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics. If the source of inflammation is due to allergies, avoidance of the allergen is the recommended solution. If there is a blockage causing increased pressure in your pet’s eye, surgery may be necessary to reverse the cause. Below are some of the common medications used to treat numerous types of inflammation.

Prednisolone is a corticosteroid used for short periods of time to reduce inflammation, itching, and redness in the eyes of dogs and cats. Long-term topical application of this medication may result in glaucoma. Only use this medication as directed by your veterinarian. It comes in many forms: tablets, oral liquid, eye drops, or injections. Some side effects seen when using prednisolone ophthalmic solution may include blurred vision, eye irritation, and excess discharge from the eyes.

Flurbiprofen is a non-steroidal eye drop that can be used in dogs and cats to treat certain kinds of eye inflammation by reducing puffiness in your pet’s eyes. This medication is not used for the treatment of glaucoma.

Latanoprost can be used to help reduce eye pressure caused by glaucoma. It helps by increasing the drainage from the eye and reducing excess pressure. It is important to use this medication as directed because overuse can lead to development of tolerance. Tolerance to latanoprost may make the medication ineffective in treating glaucoma.

Diclofenac sodium is a product used to treat inflammation of the eye belonging to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug class, also known as NSAIDs. It inhibits an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) which is needed for the production of prostaglandins. These prostaglandins can cause excess inflammation and pressure buildup in the eye. Damage to the tissues can lead to the production of prostaglandins, but by using diclofenac sodium, you can inhibit this overproduction.

Some pets may experience a large amount of discharge coming from the eyes. Before using any products, gently clean your pet’s eyes. If using multiple products, it is important to wait a few minutes between each application in order to ensure the medication remains in the eye and is not washed out by the next medication or excess tear production. Apply any ointments after applying solutions. Ointments may make it difficult to get the solution into the eye and allow the drug to reach its target area.

When will your pet’s veterinarian prescribe other pet eye medications?

The medications listed above are just a few of the options available for inflammation of the eye. Your veterinarian is the expert about what medication option is best for your pet. If you notice any changes in your pet’s eyes, schedule an appointment today with your veterinarian.

How to apply eye drops and eye ointments to pets?

Eye Solutions and Suspensions:

  1.  Wash your hands.
  2.  Shake your container. Suspensions need to be shaken in order to assure uniform distribution of the drugs in the container. Suspension tend to settle over time.
  3.  Tilt your pet’s head backwards.
  4.  Hold the dropper tip directly over the eye. Make sure not to touch the dropper tip to your pet’s eye. It will help to keep the medication sterile and to prevent contamination.
  5.  Gently pull the lower lid away from the eye to form a pocket.
  6.  Place 1 drop into the pocket.
  7.  Release the eyelid slowly.
  8.  Wait several minutes before administering a second drop or medication. If drops are placed too quickly into the eye. Most of the medication will be blinked out of the eye. The medication will not be as efficacious as needed for the treatment.
  9.  Replace the cap on the container and store according to the package guidelines. Some medications may need to be refrigerated or protected from light. Contact your veterinarian regarding storage requirements.
  1.  Wash hands
  2.  Gently pull the lower lid away from the eye to form a pocket.
  3.  Gently squeeze a small amount of ointment inside the lower lid. Do not touch the tip of the tube to the eye or your fingers.
  4.  Close the eye gently.
  5.  Replace the cap on the container and store according to the package guidelines. Some medications may need to be refrigerated or protected from light. Contact your veterinarian regarding storage requirements.

Helpful tip when applying multiple pet eye medications:

If your pet is using multiple eye products, solutions and suspensions are generally applied first. Applying an ointment before a solution or suspension product will make it difficult for the drop to come in contact with the eye. It is important to remember to always follow the directions given to you by your veterinarian.

What pet eye medications are you currently giving your cat or dog. Can you share any secrets with us on how you manage to apply the medications? Please let comments below or leave a product review on any of our pet eye med product pages. Thank you.

Erika Bitschura

Student Pharmacist