Pigmentary Keratitis

What is Pigmentary Keratitis?  

Pigmentary Keratitis is a condition where the usually clear cornea becomes opaque. Pigmentation is frequently associated with chronic inflammation and, in some cases with vascularization and scarring of the cornea, which can impair vision. Some patients can even develop a serious corneal infection.

What causes Pigmentary Keratitis?

The most common causes of Pigmentary Keratitis include chronic irritation from hairs, decreased tear film quantity or quality, decreased or incomplete blink reflex, abnormal eyelid conformation, or just having very prominent eyes.

Are certain breeds more likely to develop Pigmentary Keratitis?

Yes. Many brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds including Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzu, suffer from Pigmentary Keratitis although other breeds may be affected.

What are the signs of Pigmentary Keratitis?

Redness and increased discharge from the affected eye(s) is common. The eye can appear cloudy/white due to scarring, red due to blood vessel formation or brown due to pigmentation.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment may include eye drops to improve the tear quantity and quality, and surgery to correct the eyelid abnormalities and improve the eyelid function. The goal of the treatment is to improve corneal health and preserve vision. Treated eyes become more comfortable and vision often improves. Many patients remain on eye medications for life. Surgery to remove the pigmented section of the cornea is not helpful since recurrence limits the success of this procedure.