What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Foal or Newborn, Born with Abnormal Eyes


Foals can be born with a variety of congenital eye abnormalities. The most common of these is entropion, in which the eyelids and eyelashes are rolled inward, causing irritation and eye discharge, and ultimately damage to the eye. This condition can usually be easily treated by your vet. There are a variety of other less common eye abnormalities seen in particular breeds, some of which may not be treatable.

Any eye problems in foals should be taken seriously because they can quickly damage the eye and make treatment much more difficult and the prognosis worse. Keep in mind that eye problems in foals are often associated with other underlying disorders.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If the foal seems distressed or you think the eye is suffering damage.
  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If the signs are very mild and the eye appears normal otherwise.

your role


What To Do

Given the importance of your foal’s sight and the possibility of other problems, if your newborn foals eyes seem abnormal to you, contact your vet right away. Most vets like to perform a post-foaling exam soon after birth anyway.

Try to capture the suspected abnormality in a photo (use good light and close up view) and send it to your vet for discussion.

What Not To Do

Do not take a "wait and see" approach when dealing with eye-related issues. Have a vet promptly evaluate the foal.

your vet's role

Depending on the circumstances, your vet may need to see your foal immediately, or they can evaluate your foal's eyes during the post-foaling exam.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • How old is the foal?
  • Is the foal active and nursing?
  • What breed is the foal?
  • Do you see eye watering, swelling, grayness to the surface, or evidence of pain?
  • Describe specifically what you see.
  • Can you send me a photo?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP