Sicca, or Dry Eye
Lisa Stasiuk, Diogenoir
Sicca, or Dry Eye as it is more commonly known, is not an
hereditary condition but it is a condition that is on the rise.
It refers to an eye irritation caused by inadequate tear
production. It can lead to infection, ulcers of the cornea, and
radically reduced vision. In extreme cases it can lead to total
Three separate factors,
or a combination of the three, can cause this condition:
nerves leading to the tear glands do not stimulate the
glands to secrete enough tears. This could be the result of
nerve damage caused by an untreated middle ear infection.
Generally, only one eye is affected. Dogs with this
condition may also experience a dry nostril, causing it to
lick at the nostril to keep it moist.
tear glands have been destroyed altogether or
severely damaged, thus failing to secrete enough
tears. This could be caused by a couple of things:
(inflammation of the lining of the inner eye lids ¾
the inner eyelids are pink when healthy and red when
canine distemper virus can cause the tear glands to
shut down. This
includes even the modified live virus utilized for annual
vaccinations (see the article entitled Canine
Vaccinations: A Synopsis of Current Thinking, also on
our Breed Education page).
- Tear ducts may be plugged. This could necessitate surgery
to clean the tear ducts. In the worst cases, a
portion of the saliva duct may be re-sectioned to permit it
to be utilized as a tear duct.
The good treatment news is
now instead of trying to keep the eye moist with artificial
tears, which must be used every hour to be effective, there is a
cyclosporin ointment that has been used with good results. You
start off with twice a day applications of the ointment and
gradually wean it own
to the absolute minimal dosage possible to maintain a healthy-looking, moist, bright eye.