Known as “the windows to the soul,” eyes are one of our most intriguing and beautiful features. Eyes are also a sensitive part of the body and can be easily injured. If you suspect that your pet has injured its eye, it is highly advised to contact your veterinarian for an exam promptly. Even the smallest eye injury can quickly turn into a serious medical condition if left unattended. 

If you cannot get to your veterinarian quickly, placing an Elizabethan collar (cone collar) on your pet to prevent further damage to the eye is strongly recommended. 

It is not advised to administer any eye medications either, until you have seen your veterinarian, even if they were prescribed previously in case your pet has a scratch or ulcer you cannot detect — these medications can cause the problem to be worse. 

Some eye injuries are caused during play due to an accidental nail to the eye, or even a stray branch whipping the animal in the face while they streak through heavy vegetation. 

Some eye injuries are brought on during altercations — most notably, when an agitated cat lashes out with its claws at another animal’s face. 

Eye infection can also be brought on from debris (dirt, sand, dust, etc.) becoming lodged and causing irritation to the surface of the eye.

Potential ocular injury may be represented by the sudden onset of the following symptoms: 

•Consistently rubbing or pawing at their eyes;

•Squinting or blinking rapidly;

•Red eyes;

•Green or yellow or excessive clear discharge;

•Cloudiness; and

•Protrusion.

Once your pet has been examined, appropriate treatment will be determined by your veterinarian, based on the type of eye injury. If necessary, your veterinarian may also refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist. 

MEGAN L. FOUCH is the office manager at the Madison Park Veterinary Hospital (www.madisonparkvet.com). To comment on this story, write to MPTimes@nwlink.com.