Basement Membrane Disease is a condition in which the epithelium (surface of the cornea) does not adhere properly, and results in chronic, painful, non-healing corneal ulcerations.

This condition was previously known as “Boxer Eye”, and though we do still see it quite commonly in Boxers, we now know it affects many other breeds as well, and occurs in middle aged and older dogs.  If your dog has a persistent, drug-resistant corneal ulcer for over seven days, and a comprehensive ophthalmic examination has ruled out foreign bodies, aberrantly positioned eyelashes, or other physical abnormalities, then your pet will likely be diagnosed with Basement Membrane Disease.  If topical and oral medical therapy alone are unsuccessful at healing the ulcer, then a Burr Keratotomy (BK) will likely be necessary.  A BK is the state of the art procedure (modeled after human ophthalmology) that we can typically perform without any sedation.   The purpose of the BK is to stimulate the corneal healing process.  In 75% of cases, only one BK is needed, but sometimes a more aggressive surgical option will need to be pursued, called a Debridement Grid Keratotomy (DGK) and though very successful, does require general anesthesia and is much more expensive.  If you suspect your pet has a persistent corneal ulcer, please call our office to schedule an appointment.  Signs include but are not limited to: holding the eyelids closed, watery discharge, rubbing at the eyes, and a blue/grey/red appearance. Find current costs of treatment.


1) Garcia da Silva E., et. al. Histologic evaluation of the immediate effects of diamond burr debridement in experimental superficial wounds in dogs.  Veterinary Ophthalmology 2011; 14: 285-291.

2) Gosling AA., et. al. Management of spontaneous chronic corneal epithelial defects (SCCEDs) in dogs with diamond burr debridement and placement of a bandage contact lens.  Veterinary Ophthalmology 2013; 16: 83-88.