The Dreaded Corneal Stromal Abscess

The corneal stromal abscess is a very serious and potentially vision-threatening condition in horses. Here’s what you need to know.
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The Dreaded Corneal Stromal Abscess
A deep stromal abscess and slight corneal edema are found in the eye of this 6-year-old horse. | Photo: Dennis E. Brooks, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVO

Editor’s Note: This article was revised by the author to reflect new and updated information in November 2017.

The corneal stromal abscess is a very serious and potentially vision-threatening condition that can follow apparently minor corneal ulceration in the horse. They can be infected and cause severe eye pain. Aggressive medical and surgical therapies have been developed for this frightening and dreaded disease in the horse.

First, a bit of background on eyes and diseases. The corneal stroma is sandwiched between the superficial corneal epithelium and the deep endothelium and comprises the majority of the corneal tissue thickness. An abscess is a localized collection of dead tissue and white blood cells

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Dennis E. Brooks, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVO, is a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Florida. He has lectured extensively, nationally and internationally, in comparative ophthalmology and glaucoma, and has more than 140 refereed publications. He is a recognized authority on canine glaucoma, and infectious keratitis, corneal transplantation, and glaucoma of horses.

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