Animal Eye Associates of St. Louis - Veterinary Ophthalmology

Why Your Pet Should See The Eye Doctor Yearly

Why Your Pet Should See The Eye Doctor Yearly - image white-gray-cat-couch-woman-stroking-cat-fluffy-cat-1024x683 on

Annual Ophthalmic Exams For Pets

Regular visits to the veterinarian are crucial for the well-being of your pet, including their vision. Eye issues can occur at any stage in a pet’s life, but with annual eye check-ups, these problems can be identified early, allowing for prompt treatment. While your general vet can conduct a primary eye exam, they may not be able to provide an in-depth evaluation. However, our team at the Veterinary Vision Center is well-equipped to conduct comprehensive yearly eye assessments and offer continuous care for any eye conditions.

What does a pet eye examination entail? A pet eye examination involves a comprehensive assessment of your pet’s eyes, eyelids, surrounding tissues, and the functioning of cranial nerves. The veterinary eye specialist conducts various diagnostic tests, utilizing hand-held lenses, lights, and microscopes to thoroughly examine the eyes. They also evaluate your pet’s vision by testing their reflexes and light responses, as well as assessing how efficiently your pet navigates in varying light conditions and unfamiliar settings. The examination is carried out in a serene, dimly lit area and causes no pain or distress to your pet.

Components of the pet eye examination Your pet’s eye specialist employs advanced equipment and technology, similar to those used by human ophthalmologists, along with basic tests, to assess the overall health of your pet’s eyes.

Basic diagnostic tests — These three tests can be performed by either the veterinarian or a vet technician to aid in the diagnosis of your pet’s eye condition.

Schirmer tear test — This test measures your pet’s tear production using small paper strips placed under the lower eyelids for a minute. If the tear production is low, it indicates a condition known as ‘dry eye’ or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This test can also track treatment progress in affected pets.

Tonometry — This procedure involves measuring the pressure inside the eye using specialized instruments. High intraocular pressure indicates a painful condition called glaucoma, while low pressure may suggest an eye inflammation known as uveitis.

Fluorescein stain — This test involves applying a fluorescent green dye to your pet’s eyes, either as an eyedrop or with a paper strip, to check the cornea’s health. The dye adheres to unhealthy or ulcerated areas, allowing the vet eye specialist to identify them. The dye test also helps evaluate the health of tear ducts and tear film.

Vision evaluation and reflexes — The vet eye specialist assesses your pet’s response to hand gestures, object motion, and bright lights, normal eye and facial muscle movement, and the ability to blink. They may also test your pet’s navigation skills using a maze test.

Slit lamp biomicroscopy — The slit lamp, essentially a hand-held microscope, is used by the vet eye specialist to closely examine the eyelids, conjunctiva, and anterior parts of the eye. This part of the exam is crucial in diagnosing most ocular conditions. The slit lamp also serves as a light source for assessing pupil responses to light.

Fundic exam — The final part of the examination involves using a hand-held lens and a headlamp to focus light on the back of your pet’s eyes, examining the retina, retinal vessels, and optic nerve. Pupil dilation with an eyedrop may be necessary.

Why are pet eye examinations crucial? Pets can be born with congenital eye problems or develop genetic or age-related issues later. Untreated eye conditions often impair vision, cause discomfort, pain, and reduce the quality of life. An annual eye check-up with a vet eye specialist can establish your pet’s baseline eye health and monitor any changes over time. While some eye conditions may or may not be treatable with medications or surgery, early detection usually leads to better outcomes. Regular check-ups with a vet eye specialist also ensure that your pet receives prompt emergency care for sudden eye conditions.

Yearly eye check-ups can greatly improve your pet’s health, and our team at the Veterinary Vision Center is ready to support all your pet’s eye-related needs. Get in touch with us to book your pet’s next eye examination or if you have any inquiries about their eye care. 314-966-2111

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