What is a veterinary eye exam?
Just like their skin, coats, and teeth, our pet’s eyes need periodic checkups and medical attention - especially as our furry friends age.
When it comes to our pet's overall health, eye exams are an important piece of the puzzle. Of course, your pet's eyesight is critical to their health, emotional security, and well-being, so it's critical to be aware of any issues or disorders that may arise.
Our board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist can perform an eye exam to check your pet’s eye health and ensure their eyes are functioning normally.
At Animal Eye Guys, our new patient exams include these tests:
- Slit Lamp Biomicroscopy to evaluate the front of the eye
- Indirect Ophthalmoscopy to evaluate the back of the eye
- Tonometry to check intraocular pressure
- Schirmer Tear Testing to check that your pet’s eyes are producing tears normally
- Fluorescein Staining to evaluate the corneal surface
What’s involved in an eye exam?
During the exam, the veterinarian can assess your pet’s eyesight by:
- Examining tissues surrounding the eye and eyelids
- Shining a light into the eyes to see if the pupils constrict normally
- Looking for unusual growths, stray eyelashes, etc.
- Inspect the eye’s surface
- Tossing a ball to find out whether your pet’s eyes follow the object
- Watching him or her walk around the room
- Performing a “menace response test” (gently bringing a finger close to his or her eye to
- watch whether they blink in response)
In some cases, more elaborate eye tests may be needed. If your vet suspects an ulcer or corneal scratch, he or she will place a small amount of dye in the eye. Damaged corneal tissue will appear green, leaving the injury visible on the transparent surface of the eye.
Eye pressure and tear production may also be measured to determine the development of conditions such as glaucoma. By dilating the pupil with eye drops, the veterinarian can examine the inside of the eye, allowing him or her to evaluate the retina, lens, optic nerve, and blood vessels.
Why should my pet have an eye exam?
Our pets are active creatures who cannot tell us if their eyes are in pain or functioning abnormally, so it is our responsibility to monitor their eye health. Early detection and treatment are critical because some eye conditions cause pain and may even result in vision loss.
What are the symptoms of eye problems?
Any eye injuries should be evaluated as soon as possible by a qualified veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist. Other symptoms of eye problems in pets that should be investigated include:
- Difficulty navigating familiar environments (e.g. rooms in your home)
- Green or yellow discharge around either eye
- The third eyelid is more visible than usual
- One eye appears swollen
- Pawing at the eyes
- One or both eyes are shut
How should I prepare my pet for an eye exam?
While it’s true that you’ll need a trained veterinary ophthalmologist to examine your pet, you can take a few steps at home pre-exam. Begin by carefully trimming away any stray hairs that may rub against your pet’s eye.
Hair in our animals' eyes can irritate them just like it does us. Furthermore, a stray strand can harm the cornea, the transparent surface of the eye. Check to see if the sclera (the white portion of the eye) is clear. Inform your veterinarian if you notice any redness, inflammation, excessive tearing, or abnormal discharge.
When does my pet need to see an eye specialist?
If your pet's eyes require more advanced treatment or if treatment isn't working, your veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. These specialists can treat severe eye injuries and other conditions, as well as remove cataracts and restore vision.
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.