Are you a Shih Tzu owner? If you answered yes, the chances are good that you have faced running or tearing eyes at one stage or another. Running eyes can quickly turn a perfect clean face into a real mess, despite your constant cleaning. I am sure you know the feeling?
The reason for the running eyes can be simple, such as hair irritating the eyes, or there may be an underlying condition such as Dry Eye also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca.
What is Dry Eye?
In order to understand Dry Eye better we need to look at the function of tears. Tears lubricate the eyes, have anti-bacterial qualities and contain oxygen, sugars and salts that nourish the eyes. Tears also flush away irritants that get into the eyes, like dust.
Tears consist of mucus and oils and roughly 95% water.
You end up with Dry Eye when the tear glands do not produce enough tears to lubricate the eyes.
Dry Eye Symptoms
- A yellowish discharge from the eyes. This is due to the fact that the tears contain too little water with the result that the oily portion of the tear is too high
- Bacteria overgrowth because there are not enough tears to remove dust and other particles
- Irritated Eyes
Dry Eye Causes
- A destruction of the tear glands due to an immune reaction. The exact reason why this happens is still unknown.
- Trauma or infections that cause damage to the tear glands
- A shortage of tear producing tissue, normally an inherited condition.
- Sulfa Containing Antibiotics
- Distemper infection
How to know if your dog has Dry Eye
If your dog shows any of the above mentioned symptoms it is best to take your dog to the vet for a proper examination.
The vet will put a Schirmer test strip (a special kind of paper) under the dog’s eyelid for about a minute. After the minute the vet will remove the paper and measure the wetness of the paper.
If the results are well below average your dog suffers from Dry Eye.
Dry Eye Dangers
To put it bluntly, this condition can lead to blindness and the scarring that the lack of tears causes will damage the Cornea. For this reason, it is best not to leave any eye condition untreated.
Dry Eye Cure
Eye drops called Cyclosporine ophthalmic ointment are most frequently used to treat the condition. The drops suppress the immune reaction that is the most common cause of this condition. The use of drops is more a preventative measure than a permanent cure, but it remains the best treatment as the cause is not always easy to find.
Another option is surgery, but it is seldom used.
Also see : Shih Tzu Eyes Ten Things You Should Know.