Last Updated on March 11, 2022
If your horse needs his eyes flushing regularly, then store-bought eye wash can seem quite expensive. But is homemade eye wash for horses a good idea, and how do you make it? Let’s find out!
What Is Eye Wash?
Eye wash is a liquid used to rinse the eyeball of a horse. The eyeball is a very sensitive part of the horse and can be easily damaged by chemicals and toxins. This means that your eye wash needs to be gentle and only contain chemicals that are safe to use in the eye.
In fact, most eye washes are very similar to the natural eye wash produced by the horse – tears! Although we think of tears as something produced when we cry, they actually have a really important function. Tears are produced continually by the eye in very small quantities, to keep the surface of the eye moist and rinse away debris.
The tears produced by the eye contain the perfect balance of water, electrolytes (salts), fatty oils, and proteins. Commercial eye wash solutions aim to replicate this formula, creating a fluid that can rinse the eyeball without causing harm or irritation to the surface of the eye.
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Why Do Horses Need Their Eyes Flushing?
The most common reason to flush a horse’s eye is to remove dirt or debris. Most commonly, dirt is removed by the horse through a combination of tear production and blinking, but sometimes we need to give them a helping hand.
If your horse’s eyes are watering a lot, then it is likely that this is in response to an irritant such as dust or flies. Most tears drain away through a tube called the nasolacrimal duct, running from the corner of the eye down to the inner nostril. But when a lot of tears are produced, they spill over and run down the face.
In this situation, you might think that flushing your horse’s eye is a good idea. But before you do, take a good look at the eye itself. If you see anything to make you suspect that there might be a problem with the eye, seek veterinary advice immediately. The eye of a horse is very sensitive and eye problems are considered to be a medical emergency.
If you cannot see any other symptoms of eye problems, then try giving your horse’s eye a gentle flush to see if it resolves the problem.
Is Homemade Eye Wash A Good Idea?
For occasional eye flushing, most people opt for a store-bought eye wash solution. This can be stored in the first aid kit until needed, and you can feel reassured that it is perfectly suitable for flushing a horses eye.
But if you need to flush your horses eyes frequently, you might be considering making a homemade eye wash for horses. This is only really worth doing if you regularly need large quantities of eye wash, as it does not last as long as a commercial eye wash. This is because commercial eye wash is completely sterile, whereas our homemade version is at a higher risk of contamination.
When it comes to horses’ eyes, we should only use eye wash that is sterile and free from potential sources of infection. Even water can contain bacteria and must be sterilized before using it as an eye wash. Let’s find out how to turn a few simple ingredients into a homemade eye wash for horses!
Read more about What Is A Sun Bleached Horse, And How Do You Prevent It?
How To Make Homemade Eye Wash For Horses
A homemade eye wash for horses is a saline solution, made with salt and water. This should be at the exact concentration to mimic the electrolyte concentration in tears.
To do this, take two cups of water and boil them for 15 minutes – this will kill any pathogens in the water. Add 1 teaspoon of table salt, and stir well until the salt is dissolved.
Put the liquid into a clean, airtight container. When it is cooled you can use it to flush your horses’ eyes.
The homemade eye wash for horses can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. After this, it is no longer safe to use and must be discarded.
This is a useful recipe to know if you have an emergency and have run out of eye wash, or need large quantities of eye wash to get through a period of dry, dusty weather. However, it is always a good idea to have some store-bought eye wash in your first aid kit as well.
So, as we have learned, homemade eye wash for horses can be made using salt and water, but the recipe must be followed carefully. Horses’ eyes do not need routine flushing unless your horse is kept in a very dusty environment. You should only wash your horses’ eyes if instructed to by your veterinarian, and only use recommended flushing liquids.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on homemade eye wash for horses! Do you have a horse with gunky eyes that need flushing regularly? Or maybe you’ve got a question about how to flush a horse’s eye? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
What Can I Clean My Horses Eyes With?
The eyelids of a horse can be wiped with clean water to remove dirt and debris from the eyelids. The eye itself should only be flushed with a sterile eye wash or sterile saline.
Can You Flush A Horses Eye With Water?
Water should only be used to wipe around the horse's eye, and never used to flush the eye itself.
How Do You Treats A Horse’s Eye Infection?
If your horse has an eye infection, your veterinarian will prescribe eye drops or cream to be applied to the eye daily, or several times a day. Never attempt to treat a horse's eye infection without seeking veterinary advice, as eye problems in horses are considered to be an emergency and need rapid medical attention.
Can You Use Human Eye Drops On A Horse?
Although many of the eye drops used for humans are the same as those used for horses, you should never be tempted to apply human eye drops to a horse's eye without a veterinary prescription. Some human eye drops may be harmful to a horse's eye, while others will not be effective at treating eye problems in horses.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse
care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since
she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local
stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She
has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in
various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the
patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went
on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in
the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of
horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for
educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN REVN RVN A1