The Gift of Sight

The lessons I learned from this experience are that if an eye infection does not resolve–or look much improved–in a week, then seek an ophthalmologist or at least ask your veterinarian to take samples of the infected area for further study.

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It seemed like a little scratch. His eye was only a tiny bit swollen. Veterinarians said use the ointment a few times per day and he should be in good shape in about a week.

Four antibiotics later and weeks of frustration by my local vets– and they so did try–my horse Bernie was referred to the Cornell University Equine Hospital in Ithaca, N.Y.

Why such a drastic decision, and why a hospital so far away?
1)Bernie only has one eye. He lost his right eye several years ago before he came into my life.
2)His infection involved a very resistant corneal fungal infection.

Once at Cornell, a subpalpebral lavage medicine delivery system was installed so the liquid medications went directly onto Bernie’s eye. After several days of trying to treat the fungal infection medically, Bernie had eye surgery under general anesthesia. Eric Ledbetter, DVM, and colleagues at Cornell University removed a deep "cone" of infection from Bernie’s eye and covered the surgery site with donor tissue from his conjunctiva (the pink tissue surrounding the eye)

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