Ophthalmology

Your Pet's Ocular Health - More Than Meets the Eye

Your pet's eye health is an important part of his/her quality of life. As part of a full physical examination, your pet's eyes will be examined by one of our veterinarians. 

The Ophthalmologic Examination

Eyelids and Lashes
Examination begins with the areas surrounding the eyes, including the skin, eyelids, cilia (lashes), conjunctiva and tear ducts.

Vision
Vision and neurological function relating to eye and lid movement are assessed.

Sclera and Cornea
The sclera is the white part of the eye surrounding the clear cornea. These components are checked for scratches, ulcers or inflammation and changes in color or clarity.

Anterior Chamber
This is the space between the cornea and pupil which is filled with aqueous humor (fluid). It is the site where the aqueous humor drains out of the eye. If the aqueous humor cannot properly drain out of the eye, the pressure can build up inside the eye, causing optic nerve damage and eventually vision loss, a condition known as glaucoma. Normally, this space is very clear and will be assessed for any change in clarity or color.

Pupil and Iris
Beyond the cornea lies the pupil and iris. The pupil is the black, central opening that changes size as the amount of light varies. Pupils are checked for symmetry and response to change in light exposure. The iris is the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. Close examination here detects any irregular surface or pigment changes.

Posterior Chamber
The posterior chamber is the fluid-filled space immediately behind the iris but in front of the lens. The fluid that fills this chamber is also called the aqueous humor (as in the anterior chamber). The aqueous humor helps to nourish the cornea and the lens.

Lens
The lens is directly behind the pupil. The lens is used for focusing and should be clear. Changes here may be related to normal aging, cataracts or trauma.

Vitreous Cavity
The vitreous cavity is located behind the lens and in front of the retina. It is filled with a gel-like fluid, called the vitreous humor. The vitreous humor helps maintain the shape of the eye.

Retina and Optic nerve
The retina and optic nerve are at the very back part of the eye. Together they are responsible for collecting the light image and communicating it to the brain for processing. Proper vision requires that all these components and the brain are healthy and functioning normally. 

Diagnostic Tests

Schirmer Tear Test (STT)

Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
Measures pressures within the eye and is used to detect glaucoma and uveitis (inflammation of the anterior or posterior chambers).

Fluorescein Stain Test
Green dye is dropped onto the corneal surface and is used to detect corneal ulcers (scratches or defects in the cornea). Some of these lesions are impossible to detect without this special dye.

Other Tests
Systemic diseases can affect the eyes. If indicated, other diagnostic tests may be recommended. Systemic diseases that can affect the eyes include diabetes, dental disease, Feline Leukemia/FIV, lymphosarcoma and other tumors, hyperthyroidism, hypertension, tick borne diseases, clotting disorders, etc.

Common Diseases of the Eye:
  • Dry eye (KCS)
  • Glaucoma (elevated intraocular pressure)
  • Cataracts
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Abnormal eyelashes or eyelids
  • Corneal ulcers or abrasions
  • Hypertension resulting in loss of vision

Genetic diseases
Normally the eyes are bright and clean without discharge or redness. Please seek care and contact us immediately if you notice any signs of ocular disease such as:
  • Squinting
  • Redness
  • Discharge or excessive tearing
  • Rubbing of the eyes
  • Change in vision (bumping into objects or failure to recognize familiar surroundings or people)
  • Cloudiness
  • Inability to blink
  • Pupils of different sizes
  • Eyeballs that appear sunken or swollen

At OCVH we strive to maintain your pets overall health as well as their ocular health. Most conditions and injuries can be treated at OCVH. For certain complex cases your may be referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist.