Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM): Symptoms and Diagnosis

What is It?

Persistent pupillary membrane is a congenital condition that occurs when the tissue that forms over the eye in utero does not successfully reabsorb shortly after birth.

What Causes It?

Persistent pupillary membrane is a birth defect. Many dogs will be born with PPM that will disappear by 3-4 months. If your dog’s eye function does not return to normal by this time, seek a veterinarian.

There are three types of PPM.

  • Iris to iris attachment will look like little lines in the eye.
  • Iris to lens goes through from the iris to the back of the eye. This may look like white spots, or darker pigmentation.
  • Iris to cornea is the most serious. It can make the eye take on cloudy appearance. This is the most perilous condition in terms of vision loss.

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What Are The Symptoms?

  • Pigmented strands in the eye
  • Corneal opacities
  • Confusion
  • Unusual eye movement
  • Vision impairment

Is it Life Threatening?

No, it can cause blindness.

Are You Covered When Your Pup Gets Sick?

How is It Diagnosed?

A veterinarian will perform an ocular exam and a complete medical history questionnaire. The ocular exam may include pupil dilation to see further into the issue. A regular vet may refer your dog to a veterinarian ophthalmologist depending on the severity of the condition and treatment needed.

An ophthalmologist may use a combination of testing including Schirmer Tear Test, Fluorescein staining test, tonometry, aesthesiometry, ultrasonography and electroretinography.

What Are The Treatments?

Currently there are no standard treatments for PPM. An ophthalmologist will be able to discuss current surgical options to help remove some of the corneal cloudiness and improve vision. Depending on the condition, there might not be any options available.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pup’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian. Or, consult a virtual vet here.

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