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What is an Ophthalmology Vet?

Much like in humans, our pet’s vision is very important. While we may go for annual eye tests, our dog or cat’s eyes can be neglected. Most vets can look at a pet’s eyes and determine if there is something wrong, but sometimes a more specialized exam is needed. Our Westfield vets explain what veterinary ophthalmology is, and when it might be necessary.

What is a veterinary ophthalmologist?

A veterinary ophthalmologist is a regular veterinarian who, after they finished their schooling, went on to specialize in eye disorders. In the United States, this means that after their regular residency program ended, they practiced for at least one year, and then completed an additional three-year residency program that specialized in ophthalmology.

Why see a veterinary ophthalmologist?

Using specialized equipment, a veterinary ophthalmologist can look into your pet’s eye to diagnose disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, pannus, or even herpes. They are also able to diagnose more obvious disorders, such as dry eye or cherry eye.

When should my pet see a veterinary ophthalmologist?

In most cases, our pets have large eyes compared to the rest of their face. As such, they are bound to have some problems with their eyes at some point throughout their lives. Some signs something is wrong with your pet’s eyes are:

  • Avoiding light
  • Bulging eyes
  • Keeping their eyes closed
  • Cloudiness or redness
  • Discharge
  • Excess tears
  • Rubbing their eyes or face constantly

If your pet is having problems with their eyes, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Your regular vet may then refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist.

What should I ask my veterinary ophthalmologist?

If you’ve been sent to a veterinary ophthalmologist, odds are your regular veterinarian feels there is something seriously amiss with your pet’s eyes. You’ll want to take the ophthalmologist through your dog or cat’s medical history and explain what’s been going on. You’ll also want to ask questions such as:

  • Will this particular condition make my pet’s vision worse?
  • Is there a definite cure?
  • Was this condition caused by another condition or brought on by something else?
  • What treatment options are available?
  • If I breed my animal, will this be passed on?
  • If treated, what is the success rate?
  • Will this condition possibly return?

How will the Ophthalmologist treat my pet’s eye problems?

Treatment for eye conditions could be as simple as antibiotics and eye drops, but with more developed or severe issues, your pet may require surgery.

How do I prevent my pet from having eye problems?

While most eye problems in our pets are genetic, there are some things you can do to prevent issues. Protect their eyes by checking them at home at least once a week, and using a pet-safe product to wipe away any discharge or debris. You’ll also want to trim any hair that may be touching their eyes to avoid scratches.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is something wrong with your dog or cat’s eyes? Contact our Westfield vets to book an exam.

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