Better Sight for Sore Eyes - Archie's Dermoid • MSPCA-Angell

Better Sight for Sore Eyes – Archie’s Dermoid

Dr. Coster with Archie, one day after surgery. Archie’s right eye was medically dilated, giving it a temporary reflective appearance. He was holding his eye wide open, free of any discomfort.

Dr. Coster with Archie, one day after surgery.  

You know how irritating a single hair in your eye can be? Well, imagine being born with a whole mat of hairs in your eye! That was the case for Archie, a Shih Tzu puppy, whose owner sought help from Angell veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Martin Coster.

His condition was called a dermoid, which is essentially an area of skin that grows on the cornea during development, and is present at birth. If left alone, large dermoids such as Archie’s can cause a lifetime of discomfort, irritation, and even infections that can lead to blindness in the affected eye. The hairs also can impair vision, as they cover the surface of the eye.

When Archie was big enough for anesthesia at 4 months old, he underwent surgery to remove the dermoid. Under an operating microscope, Dr. Coster surgically removed the dermoid and patched Archie’s cornea, stitching a graft in its place to allow the area to heal.

At Archie’s one-week recheck appointment, he was doing very well. The stitches in his eye, which are much thinner than a single hair, were dissolving nicely. Although he will always have a small scar in his eye, it is off to the side and so his vision is excellent. He can now live his life free of irritation!

For more information about Angell’s Ophthalmology service, please visit, or call 617-541-5095 to make an appointment.

Archie’s right eye, pre-operatively. At the lower left of his cornea is the dermoid, a patch of skin with long hairs trailing across the upper cornea.

Archie’s right eye, pre-operatively. 

Archie’s right eye immediately after surgery. The dermoid has been removed, and in its place is a graft of conjunctival tissue. This protects the area and leaves the eye free of irritation.

Archie’s right eye immediately after surgery. 

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