Deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty, a surgical technique for managing deep corneal abscesses in horses, is both effective and cosmetically pleasing according to University of Florida veterinarians.

Caryn Plummer, DVM, Dipl. ACVO, from the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine explained, "Corneal abscesses are an important cause of pain and loss of vision in horses. Not only is the abscess in the cornea, the outer layer of the eye, problematic, but the presence of the abscess incites an inflammatory reaction throughout the entire eye that can be challenging to manage."

As a result, ophthalmologists must remove the abscess and efficiently treat the ocular inflammation--uveitis--to maintain vision in affected horses.

"Traditional means of removing corneal abscesses can result in scarring and vision loss," said Plummer.

In an effort to improve the visual outcome in horses with deep corneal abscesses, Plummer and colleagues employed the deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty technique in 10 horses. This surgery involved excising the abscess and replacing the diseased corneal tissue with new, healthy tissue. Compared to existing surgeries for managing these abscesses, the deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty technique requires only a small incision, a limited number of sutures, and a shorter surgery and anesthesia time.

All 10 horses healed as expected and had less scarring and post-operative complications compared to horses treated via alternate means.

The article, "Deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty in 10 horses," was published as a special supplement to the journal Veterinary Ophthalmology in September 2008.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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