Veterinary ophthalmology is a branch of pet medicine that focuses on eye care and ocular disease prevention. Annual pet vision exams evaluate current eye health, measuring tear production, eye pressure, and potential corneal scratches. If more serious issues are detected, such as glaucoma, cataracts, early vision loss, or dry eye problems, they will be addressed and treatment will be planned or we may refer to an eye specialist. During treatment planning, all options and recommendations will be thoroughly discussed so we can build an effective and comfortable vision procedure for you and your pet.
Indications of pet eye problems:
Abnormal growth near or on the eye
Behavioral changes, namely a sense of depression
Bumping into objects or seemingly lost in a familiar setting
Discoloration of the iris or pupil
Hazy film over pupil
Increase in discharge from eyes
Pawing and rubbing eyes
Red, swollen eyes
Sensitivity to light or squinting
Preventing and improving pet vision problems
The following tests are performed at routine pet vision exams. Each vision test is cautious of pet comfort and does not cause pain. If serious problems are detected, treatment options, including surgery, will be discussed.
Fluorescein Stain – By inserting drops of a florescent green stain on the eye, the veterinarian will be able to detect secretion from any sores. The bright green stain rests in scratches and on wounds so the veterinarian can easily detect them.
Intraocular Pressure Test – The veterinarian will use an instrument that reads eye pressure and rest it gently on the surface of the eye.
Schirmer Tear Test – The veterinarian will place a small strip of test paper beneath your pet’s eyelid with the intention of irritating the surface of the eye. This irritation will cause the eye to water, allowing the vet to test the amount of tears produced per minute.
How does pet vision differ from human vision?
Pet vision is vastly different from human eyesight with the primary distinctions being visual acuity and color spectrum. Pets have fewer cones in their retina, limiting the amount of colors they can see. Because of this, pets can only distinguish between yellow, white, blue, violet, and black. Your pet also has a much wider field of vision than humans do, but their acuity is limited to a range of about 20 feet. The final difference is pets have an additional structure in their eye called a tapetum. This tapetum enables pets to have more accurate night vision by gathering light and increasing what is able to be seen.
If you have any questions about veterinary ophthalmology or would like to arrange for a routine basic pet eye exam, please contact our office to schedule your pet’s appointment. If your pet requires further care beyond basic treatment we will refer out to an eye specialist.