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


Eyelid is Rolled Outward, Exposing Pink Tissue


This is a rare finding and usually results from swelling of the tissues lining the eye, the conjunctiva. This swelling can be severe enough that it rolls the eyelid outward, and exposes a rim of pink moist tissue around the eye. This is conjunctivitis, and it can be caused by trauma, foreign body, infection, tumor and many other causes. The key is identifying and treating the underlying cause.

  • 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.
You also might be observing
Very Common
Less Common
more observations

your role


What To Do

Given the importance of the eyelid in protecting the eye, do not allow this condition to continue or worsen over time. Look for other signs of eye injury, especially to the cornea (clear front surface). Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

your vet's role

Your vet will determine the nature of this condition and look for any underlying causes. Treatment will likely be aimed at the underlying causes.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Is the horse showing signs of eye discomfort like squinting or blinking or holding the eye closed?
  • Is the horse's eye tearing or watering?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • How does it compare to the other eye?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP