Last evening Doctors McKenzie, Lootsma and Laidlaw enjoyed a very informative lecture by a local veterinary ophthalmologist (eye specialist) on Glaucoma in dogs and cats. Dr. Whelan is currently practicing at the Animal Eye Clinic of Waterloo region, located in Cambridge, Ontario. Check out the website by clicking HERE.
Glaucoma means that there is increased pressure in the eye. This results in damage to the nerves at the back of the eye and leads to blindness. Glaucoma can be an inherited condition or it can be a result of some other disease in the eye like cataracts, uveitis (inflammation or swelling in the front part of the eye) or cancer.
The signs of glaucoma might include:
1. A red eye – meaning that the “white” of the eye becomes red from encourged blood vessels
2. A cloudy eye – meaning the surface of the eye looks hazy
4. Pain – you may notice your pet hiding, not wanting to be touched or refusing to eat
We diagnose glaucoma by measuring the pressure in the eye with a device called a Tonopen. It does not take long but since the surface of the instrument touches the surface of the eye we put some drops in to freeze the eye so your pet cannot feel anything.
There are many different kinds of medications that can be used to treat glaucoma which vary depending on the underlying cause. Sometimes we need to refer your pet to a specialist for treatment.
As with all eye conditions, if you are concerned at all it is best to have your pet examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Diseases affecting the eye can become serious quite quickly so it’s best not to wait!