The potential efficacy of topical epsilon-aminocaproic acid, an antiplasmin agent, in the treatment of persistent corneal epithelial defects was evaluated in a study of the medical records of 44 dogs, in which 51 eyes had been diagnosed with a corneal epithelial defect lasting more than 10 days, with no apparent underlying cause. At an initial examination all the affected eyes had had non-adherent epithelium removed. Thirty-four of the eyes in 28 dogs examined between January 2000 and March 2003 were also treated by the topical application of a solution of 35·7 mg/ml ophthalmic aminocaproic acid three times a day; the other 17 eyes in 16 dogs treated between October 1997 and March 1999 had received only topical treatment with gentamicin in addition to the debridement. Both groups were assessed clinically at weekly intervals for a maximum of three weeks. The two groups had approximately the same breed distribution, and there were no statistically significant differences between them in terms of their age, sex, affected side or duration of the corneal erosions. After three weeks, 32 of the 34 eyes treated with aminocaproic acid (94·1 per cent) had been cured, compared with seven of the 17 eyes treated with gentamicin (41·2 per cent) (P=0·0001). No adverse drug reactions were reported.