When Should Pets See Us?

When Should Your Pet Be Examined By an Ophthalmologist?

Most cases examined by an ophthalmologist are referred by their general practice veterinarian. This individual is in the best position to provide an initial examination and determine if referral to a specialist is indicated. That your veterinarian has the confidence to refer to a specialist demonstrates his or her high standards and concern for your pet’s welfare. It reflects his or her ability to identify conditions which will benefit from specialized diagnosis and treatment. Referral is not a requirement, however, and many pets come to us directly when the owner has noted an eye problem and seeks a specialized examination. Here is more information on scheduling an appointment.

Indications for Referral to an Ophthalmologist
Possible Cause
Loss of VisionCataracts, glaucoma, retinal degeneration or retinal detachment
Ocular DischargeDry eye, allergies, infections, tear drainage problems
Ocular PainInjury, corneal ulcer, foreign body, eyelid abnormalities, glaucoma
Change in Appearance Cataracts, inflammation, tumors


Common Eye Diseases
CataractA clouding of the lens inside the eye; it is a common cause of blindness in dogs.
Progressive Retinal AtrophyAn inherited degeneration of the photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the retina.
GlaucomaA condition associated with damaging elevated pressure within the eye.
Dry EyeA condition in which the tear glands are unable to provide adequate moisture to protect the eye.
EntropionA painful “rolling in” of the eyelids so that eyelashes and fur contact and damage the cornea.
Corneal UlcerAn abrasion of the clear surface of the eye; often painful; may be caused by trauma.
Cherry EyeA prolapse of the tear gland associated with the third eyelid.
HerpesvirusA viral infection of the cornea and conjunctiva in cats; may or may not be associated with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.


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