Try These Easy Equine Vision Tests to Check for Eye Issues

Horses possess an impressive ability to adapt to vision loss, often making it challenging to detect any decline until it becomes fairly advanced. However, this adaptability also brings its drawbacks. To ensure your horse’s well-being, it’s important to regularly check for changes in his vision, if he has conditions like uveitis. Performing these simple equine vision tests can help you assess his sight safely. As always, if you are concerned about your horse’s health or noticing sudden changes, contact your veterinarian right away.

If you’re concerned about vision changes, try these simple tests at home. Call your vet with any sudden changes or concerns. Laura Battiato/

Try These Equine Eye Tests

Lead your horse over ground that abruptly changes from dark to light, like black pavement meeting light concrete. Visually impaired horses may display caution when encountering terrains with sudden color changes. Watch for hesitation, or exaggerated movement as he crosses, such as a big jump or leap sideways.

Place a garden hose on the ground and guide your horse over it on a loose lead, repeating the process with each eye covered. Most horses can see thin objects and will step over them.

Cover one of your horse’s eyes with a fly mask or blinder, then toss an object into the field of vision of the other eye. Watch to see whether he follows the objects with his uncovered eye.

Is It Serious?

If you notice your horse has suddenly started squinting, tearing up, or can’t open his eye, it’s probably time to call the vet. It could be simply something small that’s in his eye, or it could be something more serious, like uveitis.

In horses, uveitis can be caused by trauma to the eye, corneal disease (such as ulcers), and bacterial or fungal infections of which leptospirosis is the most common cause. Uveitis can affect one or both eyes. You may notice an affected eye appearing cloudy or discolored. Your horse may squint or tear excessively, and the pupil may be constricted. These are frequently the first signs, with more severe changes to the eye developing with subsequent flare-ups.

[Read More About Uveitis HERE]

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