Are we getting “weepy eyes” wrong?

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Are the flies really to blame? Is it allergies?

Horses can get “weepy” eyes, most often when flies are around. Some just “weep” tears, but others have white or yellow discharge with the tears.

Typically this issue is blamed on flies or other bugs. It is said the flies irritate the eye, which then weeps and sometimes becomes infected.

Since fly masks do seem to help (at least helping infection), flies are deemed to be the cause of weepy eye.

But are they?

What if the eye weeps first? Maybe not a lot, but it attracts flies who find salty tears a good source of water and salt.

The flies, along with the excess water, are irritating to the horse. Who then rubs his or her face, irritating it more…maybe even causing more weeping. This turns into a vicious circle of weeping, rubbing, flies and infection.

My point:

Blaze had a history of weepy eyes, worse in fly season.

As you can see from the first photo, the lower eyelid itself is swollen and protruding. Enough to make a little pond for tears. (You can see a fly coming in for a drink.)

The bottom eyelid is NOT infected. Even if there was white discharge all over the place, the eyelid is not infected.

Is it swollen from rubbing? Maybe. But according to the owner she hardly rubs it at all.

Instead, I found adhesions within the eyelid itself. I don’t now why the adhesions were there or when they arrived. But adhesions are like sticky fascia. They cause a cascade of events so the eyelid doesn’t close properly.

I corrected the eyelids adhesions with TBT, as well as a few other items.

This is the eye approximately one month later, looking completely normal with no tearing:

So many times we attribute weepy eyes to flies or allergies. I think that’s accepted because we humans can have weepy eyes with allergies.

I might lose you here, but in my opinion allergies are not something to be accepted as normal. A diagnosis of “allergies” means that the immune system is hyperactive. The key is to find and remove the cause of hyperactive-ness.

Allergies deserve their own article. But in this one, let me share that when a dear friend of mine immigrated to American from Romania, she asked me what allergies were. I tried to explain the food or pollen sensitivities, weepy eyes, sneezing.

She said they don’t have allergies in Romania. They don’t even have a word for it.

Curious, isn’t it.

Anyway, talk later. Remember TBT can fix most anything, given enough time.

See you next year!

Renee Tucker, DVM

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