Glaucoma is described as an increase in pressure within the eye and if left untreated can cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve.
Thus, glaucoma is vision threatening and considered an ophthalmic emergency. Anatomically, the fluid inside of the eye is made in the posterior chamber. When the fluid cannot drain properly, pressure in the eye builds up. Glaucoma can be quite painful, often described in people as a throbbing headache. In some cases, glaucoma is genetic, and can be confirmed via an additional test called gonioscopy to determine if your pet has a predisposition to develop glaucoma. Other causes may include trauma, tumors, or displaced lenses. Immediate and often long-term treatment will be necessary in hopes of controlling the intraocular pressure (IOP) and maintaining comfortable, visual, and/or cosmetic eyes for your companion animal.
In addition to medical management, we offer and recommend a variety of surgical options depending on severity, species, age of the patient, and/or other existing medical conditions. Surgical options performed under general anesthesia include an intrascleral prosthesis (or artificial eye), or sometimes complete enucleation (or removal) is mandated. Each of these options come with their own set of pros and cons, and are warranted on a case by case basis.
If your pet is diagnosed with glaucoma, options and recommendations will be discussed in depth during an ophthalmic evaluation. Please call our office immediately if you or your general veterinarian suspect your pet has glaucoma.
American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists: American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists: More information on Glaucoma
ACVO Vision for Animals Foundation (VAF) Think Tank: The Future of Canine Glaucoma Therapy