Your horse’s eyes should be bright and without any signs of inflammation or any discharge. Redness of the eye or swelling on or around it can be a sign of various eye-related conditions. If you are concerned about your horse’s ocular (eye) health contact your vet immediately. Eyes are very sensitive structures and must be treated promptly and sensitively. It is also advisable to wash your hands immediately after touching your horse’s face to prevent any spread of the infection – to you or to other horses!
Another aspect of eye health that is often overlooked is the mucous membranes surrounding the eye. If you are concerned about your horse, gentle pull down his lower eyelid to observe the colour of the mucous membranes. Salmon pink membranes show that a healthy amount of blood is reaching the tissues. A lack of blood flow caused, for instance by a blockage like a clot, can reduce the ability of the eye to filter light correctly. This can affect your horse’s vision and if not dealt with promptly can cause a permanent issue with vision. On a more systemic level, pale mucous membranes (e.g. gums, conjunctiva etc) can be an indication of biliary or other veterinary emergencies. If your horse seems under the weather and has pale mucous membranes, contact your vet immediately.