Lower Eyelid Scratch

Before I get into my post, thank you all for always being so responsive and helpful. I feel like I ask a lot of questions and very much appreciate the feedback.

Latest excitement; when I brought Charlie in yesterday from the pasture I noticed he had a little blood in the corner of his eye and upon closer inspection, it looks like he got a scratch on the lower lid. He also had superficial scratches on his neck so I’m guessing he found some pricker bushes.

In any case, it doesn’t look too serious. I rinsed it with Clear Eyes yesterday much to Charlie’s protest :expressionless:. I called the vet this morning and am still waiting for a call back to see if there is anything else I should do. He doesn’t like when you try and clear away any residue in that eye which leads me to believe it prob hurts to some degree but he otherwise seems fine.

Any thoughts from COTH?

Last night

This morning

If you’re absolutely 1000% sure he didn’t also scratch his cornea I would at least treat it with some ophthalmic antibiotic ointment to make sure it doesn’t get infected. If you think his cornea might also have a scratch it wouldn’t hurt to have the vet come stain the eye. Even if he does have a small corneal scratch it would be a good idea to treat with ophthalmic ointment. Never never never mess around with eyes.

I always keep a tube of ophthalmic ointment on hand for situations just like this. That way I can treat to prevent infection while I’m waiting for the vet to come.


Thank you! Eyes make me squirmy and I don’t want to make things worse. One of the boarders is a vet tech and didn’t think it scratched the eye, but obviously she didn’t use any stain. I can get my hands on the ointment you mentioned today after work so I will do that in the meantime.

What is typical guidance on riding? I have a lesson tomorrow in the indoor that I can cancel. I wasn’t sure about riding indoor vs outdoor, or at all for a few days. I thought the dust from the indoor may aggravate it.

Is clear eyes for horses? I wouldn’t use human products on a horses eye without consulting a vet. Not all animals can take the same medications, some can actually cause blindness. Be careful there.

I would call the vet. Eyes are always an emergency. My mare came in last week with a runny eye and I had the vet out a day later. She scratched her cornea, we gave banamime and she gave me some medicated eye cream like the poster above mentioned to give for a week.

For horses!

I did call the vet, waiting for a call back though.


oh good! Keep us posted

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Im just getting antsy waiting to hear back :crazy_face:

Never ever treat an eye with anything unless you are sure what is going on. Even antibiotic ointment can make some things worse.

I am glad the OP has contacted the vet.

Eyes in my opinion are always better to pay the vet and not need them than not have paid the vet and needed them situation.


That’s my thought too and was why I just flushed it. I have the steroid stuff but don’t want to do anything on that end unless advised. I’m going to grab the non steroid stuff today to have handy if the vet says to give that a go.

When I talked to the receptionist she said Thursday would be the quickest they could get out, but to start by talking to our doc. I’m tempted to get on their schedule anyways just to be on the safe side. If I don’t hear back an hour or so before they close today I’m going to give them a call back and get us booked.

I would think most vets find eyes to be an emergency, not a schedule the next appointment thing.


Since I see the discharge in the corner, I would want to be certain he didn’t hurt the eye itself and that would be a vet call. It may be an unneeded call but you never know. The fact that his eye is wide open and appears undamaged is encouraging.


Yep, steroids are a 10000% never ever unless a vet has carefully ruled out an ulcer.

Normal triple B/antibiotic ointments don’t hurt even if there’s an ulcer, but still not something I’d use without a vet ok’ing it.

Flushing with Clear Eyes/sterile saline? Totally fine no matter what

His eye looks happy, I bet the best doesn’t find anything of significance :slight_smile:


Update. Vet is scheduled for Thursday to double check he didn’t do anything to his actual eye. Talking with the vet he said that between now and then I can use the saline and/or a warm compress to keep it clean. If I notice any swelling or it starts to shut, to give him some banamine and call immediately.

He said he should be fine for normal turnout and riding as well as long as he seems happy.


Which eye conditions in horses can antibiotic ointment (not oral medication) make worse? And is it harmful immediately or only with long term use? This would be useful to know. I’m curious because my equine vet provides ointment to keep on hand for situations exactly like the OP describes, and my dog/cat vet also says it’s a good idea to have a tube handy. This is not meant to replace a veterinary consultation; it’s only meant to keep an infection from starting if a vet visit is delayed for any reason.

Vet was suppose to be out between 9 and 11 this morning but pushed it back due to an emergency. Thankfully, the eye seems totally normal. My trainer was out for a lesson on Tuesday and said she didn’t think it warranted a vet visit.

4 day post incident and seemingly fine, I’m tempted to cancel the call out. Is there a likely scenario that would warrant still having the vet come out?


If there is no discharge anymore and the eye looks healthy and the horse is not in any discomfort then I would feel comfortable not having the vet out.
If any of those things is still happening then continue with having the vet out.


I think we are as healthy as a horse. No discharge like on Sunday, I did a warm compress on it Monday and he wasn’t too bothered by that, and is letting me touch around it.

Who came up with healthy as a horse?? Hearing that always makes me shake my head given that horses are adept that maiming themselves so easily or eat the wrong blade of grass and colic.


An item you may want to have on hand for horse eye problems (among other uses) is the rinsing solution sold for contact lenses. It comes in a plastic bottle and can easily be packed in a saddle bag if trail riding or in a traveling vet kit if going to shows or clinics. It can be used to flush an eye or a wound by squeezing the bottle to get modest water pressure. It can also be used as a hydration for horse or human as it does contain modest salt with the water.

Another suggestion for dealing with eye problems, if you annually see an eye doctor see if they have dye strips for eyes on hand. My opthamologist happily gave me a handful of strips when I commented he used the same items as my vet did. Seems preverbal humans also sometimes scratch their eyes and eye doctors use these much like vets do. But since eye doctors don’t need these very often, they would rather give them to clients than have a whole box sitting around waiting to expire.