Effects of 5% sodium chloride ophthalmic ointment on thickness and morphology of the normal canine cornea

Michelle Samuel, Sara M Thomasy, Allison S. Calderon, Philip H Kass, Keith Collins, Christopher J Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effect of 5% sodium chloride ophthalmic ointment (5% NaCl) on thickness and morphology of the normal canine cornea using ultrasonic pachymetry (USP), in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM), and Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT). Methods: Five healthy laboratory Beagles received ophthalmic examinations including USP, IVCM, and FD-OCT prior to and at fixed intervals following treatment. The right and left eyes were treated with 5% NaCl and artificial tears ophthalmic ointment (AT), respectively, every 2 hours for 4 treatments/d (days 2-9), and then hourly for 7 treatments/d (day 10). Treatment groups were statistically compared using mixed-effects linear regression. Results: Treatment with 5% NaCl resulted in a 12 μm decrease in corneal thickness from baseline (P <.001), while there was no significant difference in corneal thickness between values obtained at baseline and following treatment with AT (P =.82). Epithelial cell density significantly increased from baseline (530 ± 52 cells/mm 2 ) to 577 ± 43 and 567 ± 15 cells/mm 2 with 5% NaCl and AT, respectively (P =.003 and.005, respectively). However, keratocyte cell density in the anterior and posterior stroma and endothelial cell density did not significantly differ following treatment with 5% NaCl or AT ointment (P >.05). Conclusions: Short-term topical treatment with 5% NaCl decreased corneal thickness in normal dogs with no observable changes in corneal morphology or signs of ocular toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • 5% sodium chloride ophthalmic ointment
  • canine
  • corneal edema
  • in vivo confocal microscopy
  • optical coherence tomography
  • ultrasonic pachymetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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