I'm just wondering if some horses are more prone to eye issues.
There is a gelding boarding at my barn, (18 yr old TB) that has had a swollen eye on 2 different occasion within 5-6 months of each other. The first time it was a cornea scratch, second time, vet isn't so sure. She is thinking conjunctivitis (FYI I'm getting this all second hand from owner). Is it possible there is an underlying issue here and the two incidents are related? Or is it probably just coincidence?
This horse seems to be prone to issues in general, in the last 6 months (the time he's been at my barn), he's choked, thrown a shoe (or two), gotten a nasty cut on his upper lip, had an allergic reaction to a fly product, and 2 different eye issues. I feel bad for his owner.
On another forum I heard that some breeds were prone to eye cancer and should wear fly masks outside for the UV blockage. I have one horse that tends to attract flys and gnats that irritate her eyes ... she lives in a fly mask. Another horse will start wearing his flymask tomorrow. No eye problems, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
I owned one horse that never had eye problems until we moved her to our current home. I have no idea of why she suddenly developed a series of eye infections. But after about a year she stopped getting them ... but it was a nightmare until she did.
I previously boarded with a horse that sounds much like the horse you describe. "If it can go wrong, it will". He cost his owner a bundle and eventually had to be retired early.
So it could be situational. It could be breed related. It could be that the horse is simply prone to problems. So many possible causes.
The other female in my husband's life has four legs
My friend has a 29 year old TB gelding who just started having eye problems. She has had 3-4 corneal ulcers in a short period of time. She has consulted with an ophthalmologist, but no one has really given her answers as to why this suddenly would start in an older horse (she has had him almost 20 years.) She has switched barns several times and gotten a guardian mask, but it hasn't solved the problem.
My own horse has dry eyes and I need to put artificial tears in and keep a fly mask on him all the time. If your friend's horse has some sort of eye pain (allergies, dry eyes, uveitis) he will rub his eyes and cause scratches or worse. She might want to consult with an ophthalmologist to see if there is an underlying cause to all this.
I can definitely relate to the owner...some horses are just prone to injuries or illness, no matter how well they are taken care of. It isn't easy.
I'd be looking at his environment and habits. Does he stand with his head in front of a fan in his stall that blows dust and particles around? Does he stick his head out a window? What's in the pasture or paddock? Does he play hard with others? Is he a horse who's always into something he should be leaving alone? :-). Since you didn't mention any problems healing the eye injuries after he gets them, I'd be looking at how he gets them.