Fighting ocular disease in Australian horses

19 Jul 2019

Eye ulcers are one of the most frequently encountered and challenging eye problems in horses, often leading to blindness. Now a visiting expert in the field of equine ophthalmology is helping Australian vets better understand and treat the condition.

Professor Brian Gilger of North Carolina State University is scheduled to speak at the upcoming Bain Fallon Memorial Lecture series, the largest equine veterinary education event in the Southern Hemisphere, held on the Gold Coast.

“Because of the prominent location of their eyes and the propensity to throw their heads around, horses are often susceptible to trauma such as ulcerations in the cornea,” said Professor Gilger.

“These corneal injuries are prone to infection, even more so than cows and other farm animals, despite being in the same environment.”

An eye ulcer is present when there is a break in the surface of the eye, the cornea. This can result in excessive tearing, squinting and avoidance of light. The cornea can become cloudy and the pupil tightly constricts which can be very painful.

“Corneal ulceration is perhaps the most frustrating and potentially devastating disease of the equine eye,” said Professor Gilger.

Professor Gilger is world-renowned for his insight into equine eye disease, serving as the President of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, President of the International Equine Ophthalmology Consortium, and the Chair of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Animals in Research Committee.

Presented by the Equine Veterinarians Australia, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, the annual lecture series offers equine veterinarians from around the country the opportunity to advance their professional development with a series of world-class lectures and practical clinical sessions.

The 41st Equine Veterinarians Australia Bain Fallon Memorial Lectures will be held on the Gold Coast from July 21st to 25th with a focus on eyes, skin and lameness. More information on the history of the event and how to register to attend can be found at

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.