Veterinary ophthalmology specializes in animal vision care along with the identification and medical treatment of eye diseases. Services often cover ocular diseases in a wide range of species, including cats, dogs, livestock, horses, birds, and reptiles.
What do veterinary ophthalmologists treat?
Patients are seen for the analysis and treatment of every ocular abnormality ranging from eye infections to cancer. State-of-the-art treatments include:
- Ultrasonic cataract surgery and lens implantation
- Glaucoma laser therapy
- Eye ultrasound
- Electroretinography for diagnostic purposes
- Surgery for eyelid and corneal reconstruction
- Ocular ultrasonic biomicroscopy to help diagnose intraocular abnormalities like glaucoma
How do I know when my pet needs an eye exam?
Although animal eye conditions may exhibit in various ways, here are common symptoms that indicate your pet’s eyes need some professional attention:
- Red, or bloodshot eye
- Cloudy eyes or the appearance of a film covering
- Increased tearing or discharge
- Pet is holding its eyes closed
- Animal paws at the eyes
A typical comprehensive eye exam will include:
- Schirmer test to determine how well the eyes are producing tears
- Fluorescein staining to detect corneal ulcers
- Intraocular pressure measurement to test for glaucoma
- Slit-lamp examination to look for cataracts or other intraocular problems
- Ophthalmoscopy, to examine the retina
Conditions veterinary ophthalmologists commonly treat
- Chronic dry eye – When tear glands are not producing enough tears, an animal’s eyes become very dry. This condition can be treated with drops, ointments or oral medication.
- Corneal ulcers – A corneal ulcer results when the clear overlay on the iris gets disrupted, often due to an eye. Antibiotic eye drops, medication to manage pain, or surgery for advanced cases are standard treatments.
- Cataracts – A cataract is a milky coating over an animal’s eye lens. In the advanced stage, your pet’s pupil will appear cloudy or white. As the condition develops, inflammation may form inside the eye. This requires immediate medical attention. Surgery to remove the coating and replace the lens is a common procedure.
- Glaucoma – Glaucoma manifests itself as increased pressure inside your animal’s eye. This is a very painful ocular condition that can lead to blindness. Treatment methods focus on reducing the production of fluid in the eye, either surgically or by use of a medication regime.
- Retinal atrophy or degeneration
- This serious eye condition is caused by the deterioration of cells inside the retina. The result is often poor vision or blindness. Many factors lead to retinal degeneration.