• Work for this study was carried out at The Royal Veterinary College, University of London. UK.

  • This study was approved by the Committee of Ethical Care of Animals.

  • The initial findings from this study were presented as an abstract at ACVIM Forum 2006.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Timothy J. Potter, Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL9 7TA, UK. E-mail: tpotter@rvc.ac.uk


The purposes of the study were to describe the ultrasonographic appearance and measurements of the normal bovine eye, to compare the measurements to those reported previously for cadaveric eyes and to describe differences between ocular dimensions of Holstein Friesian and Jersey cattle. Sixty transpalpebral ocular ultrasonographic examinations were performed on 30 adult Holstein Friesian cows, and 16 examinations were performed on 8 adult Jersey cows. Transpalpebral ultrasonographic images were obtained with a 10 MHz linear transducer in both horizontal and vertical imaging planes. The ultrasonographic appearance of structures within the bovine eye is similar to that in other species, although the ciliary artery was frequently identified, appearing as a 0.33±0.04 cm diameter hypoechoic area. The axial length of the globe was significantly greater in Holstein Friesian cattle (3.46±0.09 cm) compared with Jersey cattle (3.27±0.19 cm; P=0.001), although the vitreous depth was smaller in Holstein Friesian cattle (1.46±0.09 cm) (P=0.0009). The anterioposterior depth of the lens was significantly greater in Jersey cattle (1.92±0.11 cm) and the cornea was thinner in Jersey cattle (0.17±0.02 cm). The appearance and ocular distances for live animals were similar to those reported previously for cadaveric specimens. The knowledge of normal ocular dimensions facilitates the use of ultrasonography in the evaluation of ocular disease in cattle.