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Why consider a visit to an animal eye clinic?

Why consider a visit to an animal eye clinic? A general veterinarian can manage many eye problems. However, the skills of a veterinary ophthalmologist may be required for complicated or on-going eye conditions.

An animal eye clinic is staffed by board certified and residency trained veterinary eye doctors (ophthalmologists). After completing veterinary school, the resident doctor undergoes a 3-4 year residency program at a veterinary university or certified veterinary ophthalmic hospital. The resident trains under board certified veterinary ophthalmologists. During the training program, the resident learns to recognize and diagnose a multitude of eye conditions in all species of animals. Veterinary ophthalmologists take care of multiple species of animals. So training starts by learning the many differences in the eyes of the species. For instance, the pupil shapes are different among cats, dogs, horses, and goats. Retinas have a different appearance between species.

The resident learns to use specialized equipment for examination of the eyes. A different piece of equipment is used to examine the front part of the eye (cornea/iris) versus the back part (retina).  The resident must become proficient in various surgeries for eye conditions requiring surgical intervention. The resident learns to handle very delicate eye tissues, to use suture material as small as a strand of hair, and to utilize an operating microscope. Finally, for board certification, the resident must pass an examination testing knowledge and skills at the program completion.

Your pet’s eye needs are the focus of an animal eye clinic. The veterinary ophthalmologist will work closely with the general veterinarian with the goal of keeping your pet happy and healthy.

For more information on board certified veterinary ophthalmologists and animal eye clinics, check out the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmogists website,


dog getting an eye exam.


Pet Eye Clinic in Southwest Florida for OFA Eye Exams

The board certified ophthalmologists at Animal Eye Doctors pet eye clinic in Southwest Florida provide OFA certification eye exams.

OFA Eye Certification examinations are screening exams performed by board certified veterinary ophthalmologists. The OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) provides breeders with information regarding canine eye diseases so that they may make informed breeding decisions in an effort to produce healthier dogs.

The Eye Certification exam consists of indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp biomicroscopy. It is not a comprehensive ocular health examination, but rather an eye screening exam. Before the  exam, the eyes are dilated with eye drops. Following the examination, the board certified veterinary ophthalmologist will complete the OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) form and indicate any specific disease(s) found.

The exam will generate one of three results: Pass and eligible for certification, Breeder Option but eligible for certification, and No and not eligible for certification.

Two categories of advice regarding breeding have been established by the Genetics Committee of the ACVO:

  • NO”: Substantial evidence exists to support the heritability of this entity AND/OR the entity represents a potential compromise of vision or ocular function.
  • “BREEDER OPTION”: The eye condition is suspected to be inherited. However, it does not represent potential compromise of vision or other ocular function. Although the dog will ‘pass’ it will have additional documentation on its OFA Eye Certification number with a category listing the problem.

If the breeding advice is ”NO,” even a minor clinical form of the entity would make the animal unsuitable for breeding. When the advice is ”BREEDER OPTION,” caution is advised.

10 inherited eye conditions will trigger a “No” breeding recommendation. Generally, individuals with one or more of these conditions will not be eligible for OFA certification:

  1. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
  2. Cataract – Breeding is not recommended for any animal demonstrating partial or complete opacity of the lens or its capsule unless the examiner has also checked the space for “significance of above cataract unknown” or unless specified otherwise for the particular breed.
  3. Lens luxation or subluxation
  4. Glaucoma
  5. Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV)
  6. Retinal detachment
  7. Retinal dysplasia – geographic or detached forms
  8. Optic nerve coloboma
  9. Optic nerve hypoplasia
  10. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

More information concerning OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) can be found at the OFA website . You may also contact Animal Eye Doctors, a premiere pet eye clinic in Southwest Florida at 239-948-3937.

Help! My Pet Has Lost Vision! Information from Animal Eye Doctors serving Fort Myers, Estero, Naples, and Southwest Florida.



In this blog, Animal Eye Doctors serving Fort Myers, Estero, Naples, and Southwest Florida addresses pet vision loss.

Visual impairment may be caused by conditions affecting different parts of the eye.


The cornea is the “windshield” of the eye. Conditions that disrupt corneal tissue can affect clarity and therefore, vision. Scar tissue from previous injury can obscure vision. Pannus, common to German Shepherds, is a disease in which fibrovascular tissue covers the cornea. Short nosed pets with prominent eyes, such as Pugs, Pekingese, and Shih Tzus, can develop pigmentation of the cornea as a response to inadequate eyelid protection. Corneal edema, or fluid in the corneal tissue, will give the cornea a cloudy appearance, like a foggy windshield. Whenever these conditions occur, a decline in vision occurs.


The lens of the eye is a clear round structure inside the eye used to focus. A cataract is an opacity inside the lens. Small cataracts may have minimal affect on vision, though large cataracts can cause vision loss. Genetic cataracts can occur in young dogs. Diabetes mellitus may cause full cataracts, also causing complete vision loss.


The retina functions as the film in a camera. Inflammation or detachment of the retina will decrease vision because retinal function declines. Genetic retinal diseases occur in many breeds and can cause loss of rod/cone function (retinal cells), eventually causing a slow loss of vision. Another retinal disease, called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome, causes a more rapid loss of vision in middle aged to older dogs. High blood pressure in aged cats can cause retinal bleeding and detachment.

Optic Nerve and Brain:

The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain (like an electrical cord). Autoimmune conditions, infections, tumors, or injury can damage the optic nerve and cause a disruption of transmission of images from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma, a condition of increased intraocular pressure, can cause vision loss by damaging the optic nerve. Additionally, cerebral injury, inflammation, or infection can affect the visual center of the brain and result in vision loss.

If your pet shows visual impairment, please call for an appointment with the veterinary ophthalmologists at Animal Eye Doctors serving Fort Myers, Estero, Naples, and  Southwest Florida to evaluate your pet. A number of conditions causing vision loss can be treatable and lost vision may be regained.


Warning Signs of a Pet Eye Emergency: Advice from a Pet Ophthalmologist in Naples

Eye problems in pets are serious and should never be ignored. Unfortunately, many pet parents are not aware of the warning signs of pet eye emergencies. At Animal Eye Doctors, we always advise bringing your pet in at the first sign of a problem involving their eyes or vision. In addition, however, there are several warning signs that require an immediate exam from a pet ophthalmologist in Naples. Keep reading to learn more about some symptoms you should never ignore.  Continue reading

Dog Ophthalmologist South Florida

Just like people, dogs can suffer from a wide range of eye-related problems. From eye injuries and infections to glaucoma, cataracts and corneal ulcers, there are many issues that could damage your companion’s vision and even have a negative impact on their overall health and well-being. It’s important to seek prompt veterinary care as soon as you notice any potential problems involving your pet’s eyes or eyelids. Eye problems are often emergencies, and the sooner you address them, the more likely that your vet will be able to prevent long-term damage. If your pet is in need of a dog ophthalmologist in South Florida, we can help. At Animal Eye Doctors, we offer a complete range of eye-related services for pets throughout the Estero, Fort Myers, and Naples area. 

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Our veterinary ophthalmology specialty practice serves southwest Florida with offices conveniently located in Estero and Naples and office hours Monday through Friday.