Veterinary Ophthalmology Services
The ophthalmology team at Puget Sound Veterinary Specialists is dedicated to providing compassionate care for companion animals with eye and vision problems. Early attention to ocular problems is imperative to preserving vision, minimizing pain and ensuring the best quality of life for your furry family member. We are grateful to now be able to offer veterinary ophthalmology services to our community.
What is a Veterinary Ophthalmologist?
A board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and is a veterinarian who specializes exclusively in treating eye disorders in animals. There are approximately 400 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists in the ACVO. To achieve board certification, specialists undergo years of training. After graduation from veterinary school, specialty training includes a 1- year rotating internship, 1 to 2-year specialty internship, and a 3-year ophthalmology residency. A veterinary ophthalmology residency is highly competitive and rigorous. After successful completion of the residency, the veterinarian applies for eligibility to sit for the specialty board examinations. If the candidate passes all parts of the examination, he or she becomes a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
What does a veterinary ophthalmologist do?
While a general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many routine eye conditions, certain diseases and injuries require the care of a veterinarian who has had specialized, intensive training in veterinary ophthalmology in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. A veterinary ophthalmologist will be able to perform diagnostics and use highly specialized equipment for examination of the eyes, including slit lamp biomicroscopy, indirect ophthalmoscopy, tonometry, and various other modalities.
What can our veterinary ophthalmologist and ophthalmology team do for you?
The ophthalmology team at PSVS is dedicated to guiding you and your beloved pet through understanding diseases. At PSVS, we understand eye issues can be frightening at times. Especially when vision is threatened. Our ophthalmologist and licensed veterinary technicians will help you every step of the way. From the initial consultation, to diagnosis and treatment, they will ensure you have the materials you need to understand the diagnosis, medications, and treatment options available for you and your pet.
Why should I see a veterinary ophthalmologist?
Your pet is referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist for examination with specialized ophthalmology equipment and expertise in diagnosing and treating your pet’s eye issues. Veterinary ophthalmologists only treat eye issues and act as an extension of the care given by your primary veterinarian.
For more information on veterinary ophthalmology please visit the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology website: http://www.acvo.org/referrals
What can you expect during an ophthalmology appointment?
The examination your pet receives is similar to what you experience at your own ophthalmologist. Your pet will be examined in a dark room with specialized equipment by your veterinary ophthalmologist with the assistance of a veterinary assistant or technician.
The typical initial eye examination includes:
- High magnification slit lamp biomicroscopy allows magnified evaluation of the eyelids, cornea, aqueous, iris, and lens.
- Indirect ophthalmoscopy allows evaluation of the vitreous, retina, and optic nerve head.
- Schirmer Tear Testing will determine the ability of your pet to make tears.
- Fluorescein Staining evaluates the cornea for ulcers in the corneal surface.
- Tonometry allows evaluation of the intraocular pressure to check your pet for glaucoma.
**Not all diagnostics are performed at the initial or recheck examination and will be used at the discretion of the ophthalmologist.**
Once the examination is completed, the ophthalmologist will discuss the exam findings and diagnosis with you and make treatment recommendations. If surgery or further diagnostics are recommended, a detailed estimate will be provided.
What are some things I should look for that would prompt me to see a veterinary ophthalmologist?
Veterinary ophthalmologists work with your primary care veterinarian to provide the best eye care for your pet. There are times when your primary care veterinarian and your pet will benefit from a consultation with a veterinary ophthalmologist. There are many eye diseases that are time sensitive and prompt referral is often is recommended. Below are situations and questions for possible need for consultation:
- Your pet’s eye condition has not responded to therapy.
- Your pet’s vision is deteriorating even with treatment efforts.
- A corneal ulcer that has not responded or worsened even with treatment efforts.
- Cataracts can lead to secondary and painful side effects. A consultation with an ophthalmologist is recommended to discuss monitoring and/or surgery.
- Diabetes generally leads to cataracts, a consult may be needed prior to their development causing complete vision loss.
Do you work with species other than cats and dogs?
While the majority of our patients are dogs and cats, our veterinary ophthalmologist will evaluate most smaller species. If you have a reptile, amphibian, bird, or pocket pet, please call to check availability for an appointment for your exotic pet.
Common eye disease:
Surgeries performed by the ophthalmologist include:
- Eyelid Abnormalities
- Entropion repair
- Eyelid tumor removal
- Ectropion repair
- Medial/Lateral Canthoplasty
- Third Eyelid Surgery
- Nictitans gland replacement (“cherry eye”)
- Third eyelid tumor removal
- Freezing of eyelid masses
- Freezing of extra and/or misdirected lashes (distichiasis, ectopic cilia)
- Microscopic corneal surgery
- Corneal Grafts (deep ulcers, perforations, or sequestrums)
- Corneal laceration repair
- Deep corneal foreign body removal
- Dermoid removal
- Glaucoma Procedures
- Transscleralcyclocytophotocoagulation (TSCPC)
- Ahmed Glaucoma Valve
- Intraocular tumor removal (iris)
- Laser surgery for iris tumors
- Phacoemulsification cataract surgery with implantation of an intraocular lens
- Anterior lens luxation surgery
- Cyclosporine implantation