Poll Recap: Eye Matters

Of the 236 respondents, only 87 (33%) said their horses' have an annual eye exam by a veterinarian.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

You probably wouldn’t think twice about going to the ophthalmologist if you started having trouble with your eyes or vision. But what about your horse’s annual eye care? In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if their horses have an annual eye exam each year. More than 250 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results

Of the 236 respondents, only 87 (33%) said their horses’ eyes are examined annually by their veterinarian, while the remaining 176 respondents (67%) said their horses don't have annual eye exams.

Additionally, more than 60 people commented about why they do or do not have their horses’ eyes examined every year:

Photo: TheHorse.com

Some respondents shared why they have their horse’s eyes examined annually:

  • “Yes, because he's had issues with his left eye in the past.”
  • “At time of spring vaccines/Coggins, but not in depth.”
  • “Part of the annual physical.”
  • “Part of the wellness programme my vet offers.”
  • “Included in his wellness check-up, spring and fall.”
  • “The one with ERU has frequent checks and others annually to ensure no ERU, etc.”
  • “Vet looks at his eyes twice a year. The only issues are injuries.”
  • “Yes, only because of previous eye issues.”
  • “Of course! Sight is an important sense.”

Several others commented on why their horses don't have annual eye exams:

  • “Not something my vet has offered. Only when having eye issues.”
  • “No need for it; eye problems are easy enough to recognize, and then call in the vet.”
  • “No good reason to where there is no indication of eye problems.”
  • “No vets here check eyes.”
  • “Vet never mentioned doing one and I never thought about it.”
  • “No problems with eyes so far and no behavior changes to suggest an issue.”
  • “Because the vet has never mentioned that as important, or if she did it I was not made aware.”
  • “I never thought about an eye exam!” 
  • “No, but my vet does check ups when giving vaccinations or other procedures.”
  • “Mine don't get an annual exam by a vet.”
  • “Said no, but noticed white spot on far back part of eye vet said normal but watch it.”
  • “Because I don't feel the exam is anything we don't do ourselves.”

A few people commented about different eye conditions their horses have:

  • “Our last horse had uveitis, and went in twice a year for exams to monitor. Good to catch early.”
  • “She has recurrent uveitis in one eye and has had an injury in her other. We want to keep her vision.”
  • “One of my horses lost an eye to injury. His remaining eye is extremely important.”
  • “I had a horse with eye cancer.”
  • “My horse had a corneal transplant.”
  • “My mare is recovering from surgery to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from her eyeball.”

While others left general comments:

  • “I only call the vet if I'm concerned there is an eye problem.”
  • “I get eyes examined when I think there is a problem. Just like with my own eyes!”
  • “My horse is old and accident-prone, so the vet checks his eyes every time he sees him!”
  • “Never heard of that. They go to vet annually.”
  • “Always have the vet look at the eyes. Never know when problems will arise.”
  • “It's not included in the general physical but I'll ask next time.”
  • “Very few vets where I live do I exams.”
  • “I often wonder why it isn't part of a regular checkup.”
  • “I've never considered it for my horses, besides the old ones.”


You can find more information about equine eye exams, how to recognize and handle equine eye issues, five common equine eye injuries, eye anatomy and physiology, how your horse sees, and more at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: is groundwork a regular part of your routine with your horse? Vote now and tell us about it at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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