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The Eyes Have It: Blue Eyes in Horses By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · May 9, 2012

You’re looking at a horse that you might buy, and you love everything about him…except that his eyes are blue! You try to remember what people at your barn have told you about blue eyes in horses. Are they weak in bright sunlight? Will they develop disease more quickly? Will the horse go blind before he’s 10 years old?

There’s an easy answer to all these worrisome questions. Blue eyes in horses are just as good as the far more common brown eyes! Blue eyes are no weaker, develop disease no more frequently, and are no more likely to stop functioning than brown eyes. Horses with two blue eyes, or one blue and one brown eye, are not at increased risk for any eye problems because of this color variation.

Eye problems are more common in some breeds of horses, though there is no relation to eye color. Some Appaloosas, Rocky Mountain horses, and Quarter horses (especially those with HERDA) have a proven link to various abnormalities in eye structure or function.

Regardless of eye color, any horse can develop eye disease, so check with a veterinarian if your horse has an obvious injury or shows signs such as squinting, discharge, bleeding, or swelling near the eye. Sunburn may be a problem for horses with white or light-colored skin around the eye; use a mask, a pet-safe sunscreen, or human-grade lip balm with a high SPF rating.

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