Progressive retrocorneal pigmentation in dogs: A clinical report of 34 cases

Rick F Sanchez, Richard Everson, Natalia Escanilla, Prado Cebrian, Inge J M Slenter, Guy C M Grinwis, Christiane Göerig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To describe the signalment, ophthalmic examination findings, and follow-up of dogs affected with a previously unreported retrocorneal pigmentary lesion.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective record evaluation spanning 2009-2019.

RESULTS: Retrocorneal pigmentary lesions were described in 34 patients (46 eyes). German Shepherds (n = 7), Jack Russel terriers (n = 5), and terrier crosses (n = 4) made up 16/34 (47.1%) of the cases. The mean age was 13.5 years (range 1.4-14.2 years), and 16/30 (53.3%) dogs were female. Most dogs were affected unilaterally (22/34 (64.7%)), the others bilaterally, and 5/34 (14.7%) were referred for it while the others were incidentally diagnosed. The lesions affected the ventral, peripheral, inner cornea and had a round/undulated leading edge. The number of corneal clock hours affected was known for 41/46 (89.1%) eyes and involved 1-3 clock hours in 32/41 (78.1%) eyes, 4-6 in 6/41 (14.6%), 7-9 in 2/41 (4.9%), and 10 in 1/41 (2.4%). The central cornea was affected in 9/46 (19.6%) eyes, and in 5/9 (55.6%), the median corneal clarity score was G2 (scale: G0-G4). The commonest additional findings included free-floating uveal cysts (11/34 dogs, 32.4%), cataracts (6/34 dogs, 17.6%), and primary glaucoma (5/34 dogs, 14.7%). Gonioscopy was available in 16/34 (47.1%) dogs and was normal except in primary glaucoma cases. Follow-up was documented in 13/34 (38.2%) dogs with a mean follow-up of 17 months (range: 5-26 months). Lesion progression was documented in 6/13 (46.2%) dogs.

CONCLUSIONS: Retrocorneal pigmentation occurs as a slowly progressive lesion of older dogs that could impact vision. Histological studies of affected eyes are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-949
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • corneal clarity
  • corneal pigmentation
  • endothelial pigmentation
  • limbal pigment
  • pigmentdispersion
  • progressive pigmentation


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