At VCA SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Center, our Ophthalmology Department offers complete ocular examinations, and diagnostics including:
- CERF examinations to screen for inherited ocular disease
- Ocular ultrasound
- Tear-film and corneal diagnostics
Medical and surgical therapeutics including:
- Cataract surgery with lens replacement
- Conjunctival grafts
- Corneal surgery
- Distichia/ectopic cilia corrections
- Diode laser therapy (glaucoma therapy,o cular melanoma therapy, and retinal surgery)
- Entropion/ectropion/cherry eye corrections
- Glaucoma management
- Medical management of KCS (dry eye)
- Nasolacrimal flush
- Ocular prosthesis
- Parotid duct transposition for surgical management of KCS (dry eye)
- Surgical and medical management of non-healing corneal ulcers
What Is A Veterinary Ophthalmologist?
A veterinary ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in diseases that can affect your pet's eyes and vision. A veterinary ophthalmologist is also equipped to diagnose and treat diseases that affect the structures surrounding the eye, such as the eyelids, conjunctiva, and some of the bones of the skull that comprise the eye socket. A veterinary ophthalmologist will combine medical and surgical treatments in order to treat your pet's eye problems effectively.
Pet eye diseases that you may be familiar with as a result of your own visits to a human ophthalmologist include cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachments, and corneal ulcers.
Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Ophthalmologist?
While your general practitioner veterinarian can handle many aspects of your pet's eye care, just as in human medicine, sometimes there is a need for the attention of a veterinary ophthalmologist. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for more specialized diagnostic work or treatment is one that is caring and committed to ensuring your pet receives the highest standard of medical care for his or her problem.
While in some cases, your veterinarian may be able to consult with a specialist about your pet's care, in other cases it is necessary to refer you and your pet to the specialist for more advanced diagnostics and treatment, including surgery.
What Special Problems Does A Veterinary Ophthalmologist Treat?
The ophthalmologic conditions listed below,, frequently require the attention of a specialist.
- Corneal ulcer
- Prolapsed gland of the nictitans (cherry eye)
- Tumors of the eyelids
- Masses within the eye
- Sudden blindness
- Unusual shape or size of pupils
Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?
Your veterinary ophthalmologist will work together with your veterinarian as part of your pet's total veterinary health care team. For example, if our veterinary ophthalmologist diagnoses diabetes in your pet as a result of an eye examination for cataracts, that information will be relayed back to your general practitioner veterinarian, who will treat your pet's diabetes. The additional input of the veterinary ophthalmologist will be called upon as needed as your veterinarian manages your pet's illness.
Did You Know?
- Do you know why your pet's eyes seem to glow when caught in the light at night? It's because of a specialized structure called a tapetum. Most animals that are active at night have this special, additional layer underneath their retina. This reflective structure acts like a mirror, and reflects light back through your pet's retina to enhance night vision.
- Do dogs see only in black and white? While we can't ask them, most veterinary ophthalmologists now believe that dogs see colors similarly to how a color blind human would perceive them: Not only in black and white, but with a limited scale of colors.
Does your cat or dog need a veterinary ophthalmologist? Talk to your VCA vet, or find a VCA board certified veterinary ophthalmologist near you.
OPHTHALMOLOGY DEPARTMENT CLIENT RESOURCE LIBRARY
Our Ophthalmology Department offers an array of helpful resources that provide further information to help pet owners become informed about many aspects of ophthalmic treatment for pets. Please feel free to browse and download any of the documents from our resource library below:
- Chronic Superficial Keratitis (“Pannus”)
- Cornel Ulcer
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (“Dry Eye Syndrome”)
- Prolapsed Gland Third Eyelid Cherry Eye
WEB LINKS OF INTEREST:
- ACVO: www.acvo.org
- Optigen (genetic testing): www.optigen.com
- ACVO Cataract video: http://youtu.be/yypMG4kB8zc
- OFA eye exams: www.offa.org
- Service dog exams: www.acvoeyeexam.org
- Blind dog help: www.blinddogs.com
Frequently Asked Questions
- What Specialized Training Does A Veterinary Ophthalmologist Have?
Just like a human ophthalmologist, veterinarians interested in ophthalmology must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. In veterinary medicine, specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO). A veterinarian that has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVO,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVO. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:
- Obtained a traditional 8 year veterinary degree (four years of college plus four years of veterinary medical university education and training).
- Completed a one year internship in small animal medicine and surgery.
- Completed an additional three year residency in ophthalmology at a veterinary teaching hospital.
- Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVO, which includes publishing credits, case reports, and a resume.
- Passed a rigorous, multi-day examination consisting of written, practical, and surgical sections.
Services Offered in Ophthalmology
- Comprehensive peri-operative monitoring
- Blood chemistry analyzer
- Coagulation analyzer
- Hematology analyzer
- In-house STAT laboratory
- Digital radiography
- Direct blood pressure monitoring
- Aggressive analgesia
- Phacofragmentation / cataract surgery
- CERF exams
- Eyelid and corneal surgery
- Ocular ultrasonography
- Advanced anesthetic monitoring
- Tissue biopsies