Glaucoma in Dogs
Definition of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a serious condition characterized by the abnormal build-up of fluid, called aqueous humor, inside the eye. The volume of aqueous humor normally is carefully regulated to keep the eyeball in its proper shape; this happens from a slow but fairly continuous exchange of fluid between the inner eye chambers and circulating blood. This balance is disturbed in dogs with glaucoma, because aqueous humor is being made faster than it can be removed. Glaucoma can be genetic or be caused by eye damage or disease. Either way, dogs develop increased intraocular pressure, visional impairment from degeneration of the retina and optical nerve and, if untreated, eventually blindness. Glaucoma is normally not life-threatening, but it can adversely affect a dog’s quality of life as its vision deteriorates. Fortunately, routine eye examinations can identify changes in pressure inside the eyes, which allows for meaningful medical management before full-stage glaucoma develops.
The normal eye is filled with a fluid called aqueous humor. The amount of aqueous humor normally is carefully regulated to keep the eyeball in its proper shape. This happens from a very slow, but fairly continuous, exchange of fluid between the inner eye chambers and the blood in systemic circulation. This balance is disturbed in dogs with glaucoma, because aqueous humor is being produced faster than it can be removed, causing pressure to build
Glaucoma refers to elevated pressure inside the eye that causes vision impairment and, if left untreated, blindness due to degenerative damage to the retina and optic nerve. The clinical signs of canine glaucoma are fairly nonspecific and change over time depending on the stage of the disease. Many owners do not realize that their dog is suffering from glaucoma until the condition has progressed to an advanced stage. However, subtle changes in the appearance of
At the outset, glaucoma must be differentiated from other causes of non-specific eye redness and irritation, including conjunctivitis, anterior uveitis, ectropion and entropion, among many others. This is accomplished by a thorough ophthalmic examination, during which the veterinarian looks closely at the external and internal structures of both eyes, even if only one appears affected. Simple vision tests also may be conducted to determine whether a dog’s sight is impaired. These tests usually involve hand
Treating options for glaucoma in dogs vary based upon the underlying cause of the condition. Treatment normally involves application of topical eye medications, administration of systemic medication and eventually surgery. This progressive condition may occur in one or both eyes, and immediate treatment is necessary to prevent permanent eye damage, pain and blindness. The goals of glaucoma therapy are to lower intraocular pressure of affected eyes in order to maintain the dog’s vision as long