Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), or "dry eye," involves inflammation of the cornea due to decreased tear production. The disease usually affects middle-aged or older dogs and has been reported in cats, as well. The watery part of the tears is no longer made, so only the mucous remains. One or both eyes may have a mucous type of discharge in or around the eye.
Other signs of dry eye include redness or irritation in the eye and squinting. Your pet may constantly rub its eyes, as well. Dry eye is more than just an annoyance. The corneas will become chronically dry and irritated and then cloudy, and brown pigmentation may appear. Left untreated, dry eye will lead to blindness.
If your veterinarian suspects dry eye, he or she will check your pet’s tear production. This is done through a simple, inexpensive, one-minute test called a Schirmer tear test. If the tear production is impaired, there are many medications that can help.
Copyright © 2009, American Animal Hospital Association
Reprinted with permission from the American Animal Hospital Association.