General Information

Hyphema simply means blood inside the eye. It can occur for many reasons and it can be a sign of a serious disease process, such as rat poison ingestion, certain infections, cancer, high blood pressure, trauma, and retinal detachment. As you can see, many of these problems are not just ‘eye diseases.’ The exact cause may be difficult to determine since the blood can mask the location of the injury or disease. Because some of these conditions are quite serious, if the bleeding develops suddenly it is important that your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian rule out the most serious causes, such as a blood clotting abnormality or a toxicity that is affecting the whole body. Once it is clear that your pet is not in a life-threatening situation, it is important to see the veterinary ophthalmologist.

Important Points in Treatment

  1. Initial treatment is to control the bleeding, since its presence may cause high pressure in the eye and vision loss. At the same time, efforts will be made to discover the underlying cause so that it may be corrected.
  2. Besides a thorough eye examination, other diagnostics including laboratory blood work, systemic blood pressure monitoring, radiographs (x-rays) and ultrasound may be recommended. Occasionally surgery, requiring general anesthesia, may be necessary.
  3. The medical treatment for hyphema can involve short-term or life-long use of topical and/or oral medications depending on the underlying cause.

As seen in the diagram above, sometimes the entire eye is not filled with blood and only a small amount is present. Your awareness of your pet’s symptoms and compliance with recommendations for recheck examinations can reduce the risk of complications. If any complications arise, it is important that they are promptly identified and treated.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:

If you have further questions about Hyphema or any other ocular condition, please do not hesitate to call us at Eye Care for Animals.

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