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Eye Conditions
Our pets can show signs of eye discomfort or disease in many ways. Some of the more common symptoms are:
Change in eye color – most often consistent with a whitish or cloudy appearance of the eye itself or redness around the “white” of the eye, otherwise known as the sclera and conjunctiva.
Signs of discomfort - most commonly in the form of blinking, keeping one or both eyes closed, pawing at the eyes, clear visualization of the third eyelid or “nictitans”, increase in size of one or both eyes, or overall lethargy coupled with one or more of the color changes listed above.
If the pupil of the eye seems to be a different size than the other, or if one or both of the pupils are dilated, this can be a sign of an eye problem.
Ocular discharge usually corresponds with potential eye disease and can be observed as watery eyes, thick mucus discharge, or excessive tear staining (brownish discoloration over the nose and face).
Common Ocular Diseases:
Cataract - What exactly is a cataract?
The lens is a clear structure inside of the eye that focuses light/images and helps make vision possible. A cataract is simply an opacity that forms within the lens that decreases its clarity and can lead to diminished vision or even blindness. Cataracts are generally white in appearance.

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Third Eyelid Gland prolapse (Cherry Eye):
Nictitans gland prolapse, or “cherry eye”, takes place when the attachment of the gland to the orbital rim tears and the gland rotates up over the eye between the cornea and the third eyelid. This condition is common in Cocker Spaniels and brachycephalic breeds (i.e. Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, etc.). It is thought to be caused by weak attachments of the gland coupled with some form of inflammation. This gland contributes greatly to the aqueous component of the tear film. Therefore it is important to replace it surgically to maintain its function and avoid painful, potentially blinding conditions that can take place if this gland is removed. It is also important to return the gland to its original position to decrease the potential for corneal ulceration, which your pet becomes more susceptible to while the gland is prolapsed.
This is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye ultimately becomes elevated. This can then lead to pain, discomfort, cloudiness, redness, enlargement of the eye, and diminished vision or even blindness. Glaucoma can be primary in origin (due to an anatomic abnormality) or secondary to another problem within the eye. If caught early, medical and surgical management can be effective to help preserve vision, as well as improve the comfort level of the patient. Unfortunately these patients require lifelong management, and there is variability in how well they will respond to these therapies. The first step is early recognition and intervention. Gonioscopy is offered at Southern Veterinary Eye Care, which is a way of visualizing the filtration angle (drain) of the eye to help determine whether or not your loved one is more susceptible to developing this condition. Common dog breeds affected consist of Boston Terriers, Bassett Hounds, and Cocker Spaniels just to name a few. Cats are less likely to develop this condition and it is usually secondary in origin. If your dog or cat shows any signs consistent with this condition please contact your veterinarian or Southern Veterinary Eye Care as soon as possible.
Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca):
This condition develops from a decreased tear production in one or both eyes and can be painful. Unfortunately the damage to the eye over time can lead to significantly diminished vision, even
blindness. The most common presenting complaint with this condition is that the eyes are red, have constant mucous build up, and appear painful. Most forms come on rapidly and are often accompanied with signs of generalized allergies, but there is potential for drug induced and neurologic causes as well.
Medical Therapy
The treatment for this disease process varies with the cause but is generally in the form of lifelong medical therapy. Tear stimulants are commonly used to treat this condition and have been shown to be very effective in conjunction with other medications.
Surgical Therapy (Parotid Duct Transposition)
If medical therapy does not improve your loved one’s condition, a surgical option in the form of Parotid Duct Transposition may be the best option. This procedure involves moving the parotid salivary duct from the mouth to the eye. This can make your pet comfortable and preserve vision by moistening the eye with saliva instead of the normal tear film. There can be some mineral deposition over the cornea and excessive overflow of saliva from the eye in some instances following surgery, but in general this procedure has a good success rate for improving your pets comfort level and sustaining vision for as long as possible.
Cataract Surgery
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in dogs. The great news is that there is a successful surgical treatment that can restore your loved ones vision.

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Southern Veterinary Eye Care
21489 Koop Dr. Suite 6 - Mandeville, LA 70471
For Scheduling: Office: 985-400-5333 - Fax: 985-746-9393
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