What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an increase of pressure within the eye that causes degenerative changes in the optic nerve and retina which can lead to blindness.   Glaucoma is a very painful condition for both humans and animals and treatment is required to manage the pain and possibly save the vision in the eye.

What causes Glaucoma?

  • Glaucoma is commonly seen in pure bred dogs (ex: Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bouvier, Springer Spaniel, Beagle, Shar Pei, Chow Chow, as well as many others)
  • Primary Glaucoma is a hereditary defect where the filtering mechanism around the iris is blocked off
  • Secondary Glaucoma refers to increased pressure in the eye due to other diseases (ex: anterior uveitis, lens luxation, and hyphema)

What are the signs of Glaucoma?

  1. Red eye
  2. Cornea may turn blue
  3. Pain
  4. Pupil may be dilated
  5. Watery discharge from the eye
  6. Blindness
  7. Enlargement of the eye


How is Glaucoma treated?

  • Rapid diagnosis and treatment within 72 hours is critical to save your pet’s vision.
  • A referral to a Veterinary Opthamologist is required to perform and general anesthetic to place a shut in the animals eye in order to save the vision. 
  • If we have passed the 72 hour mark, irreversible damage has occurred to the eye and the shunt is no longer an option. 
  • At this point there are two surgeries that can be performed to remove the eye and the source of the pain for the animal.  A surgery to remove the eye and sew the lids shut (enucleation) or having a silicone implant placed in the empty socket for cosmetic reason (this would maintain the shape of the eye and the eye would move normally)
  • Once your dog has been treated for Glaucoma, the pressures of both eyes should be monitored every 3 months for the first year after surgery, then every 6 months after that.
  • Since Glaucoma can be a genetic condition, the Veterinarian may recommend using preventive eye drops to keep the other eye from developing Glaucoma.

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