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


Eyelid is Rolled Inward, Eyelashes Contacting Eye (in Adult)


This is a rare finding in adult horses but fairly common in foals. When seen in adults, it is usually associated with an eyelid wound that healed poorly, directing the lashes inward.

It is also rarely seen in horses that are dehydrated. In this case, the tissues behind the eye shrink up, the eye sinks, and the eyelids roll in, causing the eyelashes to contact the eye and causing pain and irritation. Occasionally, a horse will live with an undetected or untreated congenital eyelid abnormality until maturity.

If not treated promptly, abrasion and irritation by the eyelashes can lead to permanent corneal scarring, which can interfere with vision.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If you notice other problems with the eye or the eye seems inflamed and painful.
    • Most eye problems are considered veterinary emergencies.
  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If the eye appears otherwise normal.
    • The eye does not seem painful and the horse does not seem distressed.

your role


What To Do

Assess the eye, looking for areas of grayness or ulceration. Rinse the eye with saline. Given the importance of your horse's sight, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

your vet's role

Your vet determines if this is caused by dehydration or other underlying illness. Staining of the cornea with fluorescein dye helps determine if there has been corneal ulceration. If so, that will need to be treated too. If there is a primary eyelid/eyelash problem, they may discuss surgical options to correct it.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What specifically are you seeing?
  • Is the problem affecting one or both eyes?
  • Does your horse seem normal otherwise?
  • Is the horse drinking water normally?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

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

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP