Healthy Eyes: Your Family Veterinarian
Your family veterinarian will examine your pet’s eyes during the annual exam and will let you know if there are any signs of eye disease. At home, always monitor for signs of distress such as squinting, discharge from the eyes, or sudden redness or clouding. Changes in vision can range from sudden blindness to more subtle clues like a decrease in dimmer lighting situations. Your family vet is always a great place to start as they will let you know if you should seek further help with a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Components of an Ophthalmic exam
What is a Veterinary Ophthalmologist?
A veterinary ophthalmologist is a board-certified veterinary specialist who is dedicated to diagnosing and treating diseases of the eye. In addition to four years of veterinary school, they go on to do an additional year of internship and then three years of an ophthalmology residency specializing in eyes. After completion of the residency program, the candidates then take a rigorous, multi-day examination to achieve board certification. Veterinary Ophthalmologists can be found in private practices, research, and Universities throughout the country using the “Locate an Ophthalmologist” function on the www.ACVO.org website. The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists promotes excellence in education and training for veterinary ophthalmologists and fosters a collaborative relationship between pet owners, family veterinarians, and veterinary ophthalmologists.
Shouldn’t a veterinary ophthalmologist be doing everything she can to save vision? When I first started this website, I wondered whether people would think that I was celebrating blind eyes too much. That perhaps I wasn’t trying everything I could to maintain vision in dogs. Quite the contrary, I have dedicated my life to these animals’ eyes and trying to keep them as healthy as possible. But sometimes there is no treatment. Sometimes we simply cannot save vision, and comfort and quality of life become our primary goals. It is for these pets and their families that the veterinarian pauses, sits down, takes a breath and lets the families know that even though they are facing a lifetime without vision, their pet will be fine. In fact, they will be better than fine. Their blind pets will do things on a daily basis that will inspire awe.
– Brady Beale, VMD, DACVO
About the Author
Dr. Brady Beale is a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist who is dedicated to working with families and referring veterinarians to develop the best treatment plan for each individual pet. She returned to her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, to teach students and train residents and currently serves as the Chief Medical Communications Officer for PennVet. She also works in private practice in Lancaster, PA.
Dr. Beale is the Past Chair of the ACVO Public Relations committee and remains committed to growing projects such as the National Service Animal Event to provide free eye examinations for active working animals. She is actively involved in promoting STEM programs and recently gave a TEDx talk to encourage children to find a focus that inspires them.