What is Glaucoma?
The eye is a complex system of different compartments that perform different functions. The ciliary body is a compartment inside the eye whose job is to produce a fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid carries vital nutrients to different parts of the eye. As this fluid is produced it is also drained away. If there is an imbalance in the production and drainage of this fluid, increased pressure inside the eye can be formed, and this condition is known as glaucoma. Glaucoma will normally start in one eye, but can spread to the other eye. It is common in breeds such as huskies, cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, Boston terriers, Norwegian elkhounds, dalmations, basset hounds, samoyeds, sharpeis, cairn terriers, beagles and chow chows.
What are my pet’s symptoms?
Glaucoma is usually painful. Discomfort in dogs and cats may present as behavioral changes such as loss of appetite, disinterest in play, or irritability. You may also notice cloudiness in the eyes, increased redness, loss of vision, sensitivity to light, squinting, or rubbing at the eyes.
How do we treat glaucoma?
The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed the better. There are some cases where surgery in inevitable, but there are variable treatment options that can be tried depending on the severity of the glaucoma. One of the first treatment options may be to prescribe eye drops, which would help decrease the fluid pressure in the eye. Sometimes oral medication may be prescribed as well.
If medication is not enough, laser cyclophotocoagulation surgery may be recommended. For blind, chronic cases, one surgical option is to inject a medication called gentamycin into the eye, which destroys the affected cells. This usually results in a cloudy appearance to the eye. The eye may also shrink in size with this procedure. Another option is to do eye prosthesis. This involves removing the inner affected part on the eye and putting in an implant. The third option is to remove the eye completely. Surgical options will depend on what stage of glaucoma your pet’s eye has reached at the time of exam, and if the eye is responding to the prescribed medication. Diligent care with eye medications and eye pressure checks are needed to keep your pet comfortable and provide optimal patient care.